It’s here. College basketball.
The Arizona Wildcats and Michigan State Spartans get the season started in style on Friday when they meet in the Armed Forces Classic, which is being held in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Both teams have a ton of question marks heading into the season, which makes it impossible to know what’s actually going to happen.
But who cares? We’re here to pick games, and that’s what we’re gonna do! Let us know how you think this game will go in the comments section!
Gabe Encinas: Sean Miller has been solid in these premier non-conference games before, but this clearly isn’t a team that is ready for a big time test. Although, folks seem to be pretty optimistic with Chance Comanche coming back after serving a two-exhibition suspension for academics.
66-56 Michigan State
Brandon Hill: Both Arizona and Michigan State will have to rely heavily on freshmen. Given that this is the opener for both teams, both will still be feeling out their rosters. At face value, given how tenuous Arizona’s grasp on a season with Final Four aspirations seems, and how shakily the Chico State game played out, this seems like a very difficult game to win (despite essentially even preseason poll rankings). I think Michigan State has a lot of question marks too, however, in terms of their own roster and the necessity to rely on unproven, albeit heralded, freshmen. All things considered though I think the Spartans win narrowly in a grinder of a game.
60-55 Michigan State
David Stevenson: Interestingly enough, both schools are extremely young with highly-touted freshmen classes. Michigan State returns only one starter, but superfrosh Miles Bridges averaged 26.5 points in the two Spartan exhibition games. He will probably be the Spartans “go-to guy” and it will be interesting to see if Miller sticks Rawle Alkins or Keanu Pinder on him. Like MSU, Arizona is extremely raw but has dealt with a myriad of off-court issues. With the recent suspensions and unexpected Ray Smith retirement last week, the lineup is still a question mark at a bad time before a big game.
Michigan State 74 Arizona 59
David Potts: I don’t have faith that the Wildcats will be able to pull out a win against the Spartans when they barely beat Chico State at home, and I have serious concerns about Arizona’s depth (or lack thereof).
Michigan State 70, Arizona 60
Matt Sheeley: Miles Bridges is phenomenal and has the ability to carry MSU. Tom Izzo is used to seeing big names early in the season so I'm sure he'll have his Spartans prepared. But their interior defense is a big question mark, having lost a lot to the pros and graduation. Plus Arizona isn't the only team suffering from injuries; Ben Carter and Gavin Schilling were projected to be the Spartans’ best rebounders and they're both out.
Maybe I just want to lighten the mood of these predictions but I'm going out on a limb:
Arizona 72, Michigan State 65
Jason Bartel: After watching the Chico State game, I can’t bring myself to pick Arizona, even with the impending Comanche return and the interior issues MSU brings to the table.
Also the Spartans have a dude named Tum Tum. That in itself is worth five points a game.
74-67 Michigan State