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Friday, March 7, 2014


Looks like a close game tonight between Michigan State and Michigan women's basketball in round two of the conference tournament. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.

Let's take a look at the guards and wing-players who will get most of the minutes in tonight's game.

UM generally runs six players throughout the game, with little help expected beyond the first player off the bench. They list four guards on the roster, but two of those "guards" could be considered small forwards. We'll put them all in the same group:

  • 5-7 Freshman, Siera Thompson
  • 5-7 Junior, Shannon Smith
  • 5-10 Sophomore, Madison Ristovski
  • 5-11 Junior, Nicole Emblad

MSU uses a seven-player rotation, with two other subs that can play depending on the situation. Let's look at the four primary guards for Michigan State:

Assuming Jankoska covers one of the 5-7 starters, the Spartans will have a small height advantage in every match-up. One of the shorter UM starters will have a bigger player on them at all times, and the larger UM guards will still be outsized. No amount of switching will change that when Michigan has the ball, and MSU can create favorable mis-matches by forcing defensive switches with the 5-7 guards.

All but one of the players listed are good free-throw shooters, the lone exception being Agee for MSU. Everybody for both teams shoots the three-pointer with some effectiveness.

Suzy Merchant likes to play man-up defense, and a zone would not be suitable against Michigan with their outside shooting strength. So these players will be going head to head tonight in Indianapolis.

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