Michigan State and Iowa have already met once this season. It did not end well for the visitors.
Unranked Iowa knocked off then No. 1 Michigan State 83-70 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on December 29th. Mike Gesell had 25 points and Peter Jok had 19 points for Iowa as MSU committed 16 turnovers in their defeat.
However, Iowa did not have to face NOPY candidate Denzel Valentine in their previous matchup versus MSU. Valentine had minor knee surgery in mid-December and missed four games in the process. Valentine has averaged nearly 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists per game this season. Valentine returned on Sunday against Penn State and had 10 points and 4 assists in his first game back.
Michigan State is 3-0 since their only loss of the season with victories coming against Minnesota, Illinois, and Penn State respectively. Their last two victories against Illinois and Penn State were absolute routs as they won by at least 25 points in each of those games.
In Valentine’s absence, senior Bryn Forbes has stepped up immensely. Against Oakland, he had 32 points. In MSU’s past three games, he has averaged 19 points while shooting 56% from beyond the arc.
Nevertheless, MSU will have to stop Iowa’s offense who will be led by Jarod Uthoff. Uthoff has been averaging nearly 19 points a game for the Hawkeyes this season.
How healthy will Denzel Valentine be?
-This will only be Valentine’s second game after his surgery and he only played limited minutes in his first game back. Even though he had 10 points, Valentine was clearly not 100%. A healthy Valentine is key for the Spartans if they want to beat the Hawkeyes.
How rusty will Iowa be?
-Iowa will have had 8 days off between this game and their previous game against Nebraska. Will they come out with energy and force the Spartans to turn the ball over? Or will they come out lackadaisical and sluggish?
Will the Spartans limit their turnovers?
-In their previous game against the Hawkeyes, Michigan State committed 16 turnovers. They rushed passes, and made poor decisions which led to Iowa having an easy win. MSU needs to limit their turnovers if they want to beat the Hawkeyes.
MSU 75, Iowa 67