Michigan St Spartans vs. Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 9th 2023

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No. 4 Michigan State never expected a losing record at any point this season.

But the Spartans are 0-1 as they prepare for a visit from Southern Indiana on Thursday.

A stunner in the season opener on Monday sent head coach Tom Izzo into a somber march, feeling from a 79-76 loss in overtime to a James Madison team that was picked to win the Sun Belt Conference this year and had the look of a mid-major team that could be a force.

“They outplayed us. They played harder than us. They played smarter than us,” Izzo said after the Spartans went 1 of 20 from 3-point range and 23 of 40 from the free throw line. “They deserved to win. I didn’t think it would go like that.”

Michigan State tries to get right against Southern Indiana with a showdown against No. 2 Duke looming on Tuesday in Chicago.

Izzo refused to call the loss a “wake-up call” for his team but he struggled searching for positives.

“To me, wake-up calls are for programs that all of a sudden came out of the ashes,” Izzo said. “When you’ve been a solid program, there should be no wake-up calls. So I take responsibility for that. There’s no reason for a wake-up call. There’s gonna be some changes. There’s no reason for a wake-up call.”

Southern Indiana competed in Division I for the first time last season, going 16-17 overall. However, a lot of production has to be replaced off of the 2022-23 team, with nine new players in the fold. The Screaming Eagles lost their opener to St. Louis University, 75-63, on Monday.

Guard Ryan Hall, a junior who redshirted last season, and guard Jack Campion made 13 starts last year as a freshman but the Spartans don’t have to worry about anything near the level of experience and maturity they did against James Madison.

“With nine new guys, it’s hard as a coach to get everything going as fast as you want it to,” Southern Indiana head coach Stan Gouard said. “But I think these guys are very good in terms of taking coaching and applying it to the game of basketball. We compete at a high level. They listen and they want to win, but there are some things to do in order to win a ballgame.”

The Screaming Eagles were picked to finish ninth in the Ohio Valley Conference preseason poll.

The biggest key to staying in the game for Southern Indiana might be how well it can contain Michigan State senior guard Tyson Walker, who went off for 35 points in the loss to James Madison.

“I hope they respond by being ticked off,” Izzo said of his team. “I hope they respond by playing a little harder, more physical. I don’t know what to say about the free throws. I harp on it every day, and we have shot well from the line at practice. It just happened.”

This will be the first ever meeting between Southern Indiana and Michigan State.

–Field Level Media

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