College Basketball Preview: No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 24 Louisville

The 24th-ranked Cardinals head to East Lansing tonight for a showdown with 3rd ranked Michigan State in a rematch of last years Elite Eight victory by the Spartans.

Hopefully, this Big 10/ACC Challenge marquee matchup lives up to last night’s No. 2 Maryland vs No. 9 North Carolina shootout.

Louisville and head coach Rick Pitino are surrounded by controversy, yet head into tonight’s game with an unblemished record at (5-0) and on the heels of their first top 25 ranking this season. Still, they remain virtually untested with Saturday’s 77-57 victory over St. Louis as their most impressive win.  

Michigan State (7-0) has arguably been the most impressive college basketball team to this point. They were able to knock off Kansas 79-73 at a time when Kansas was ranked No. 4 in the country, and they just wrapped up the Wooden Legacy Championship by knocking off Providence (a trendy tournament pick) on Sunday.

Matchup to watch: Not a tough call here.  Denzel Valentine is an absolute player of the year candidate and is currently averaging an eye-popping 19.9 PPG, 8.9 boards, and 8.6 assists per game.  Damion Lee, a graduate transfer from Drexel, is tasked with guarding Valentine as well as leading the Cardinals in scoring with 17.4 PPG.

When: 7:15 pm ET
Where: Breslin Center; East Lansing, MI
TV: ESPN, WatchESPN app
Line: Michigan State -5.5

Prediction: Michigan State, 72 – Louisville, 60

The Izzone will be rocking and I’m expecting Michigan State to fully capitalize on this early season home game.  I expect Louisville to keep it close early relying on the coaching of Pitino, but Sparty will run away in the second half.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports