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Previewing No. 9 Maryland men’s basketball vs. Michigan State: Game time, odds and how to watch

Here’s what you need to know about the No. 9 Maryland men’s basketball team’s game vs. Michigan State on Saturday.

Time: 6 p.m.

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Location: Breslin Center, East Lansing, Michigan

TV/Video: ESPN

Radio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM, SiriusXM 83, TuneIn Radio App (Johnny Holliday, Chris Knoche)

Records: Maryland (20-4, 10-3 Big Ten) vs. Michigan State (17-8, 9-5)

Line: Michigan State by 6½ (as of Saturday morning)

What to watch

1. Does Maryland’s road success carry over into an arena where they have typically struggled?

After Maryland’s last-second victory Tuesday against Nebraska, which entered the game with just two conference wins, head coach Mark Turgeon said he did not have his team ready to play what many expected to be an easy win for the top team in the Big Ten. He added that his team would be mentally sharper for Saturday’s game in East Lansing.

Michigan State has gone through its issues — the Spartans lost three straight and dropped out of the AP Top 25 poll before knocking off No. 22 Illinois in Champaign on Tuesday — but are still formidable at home, with only two losses at the Breslin Center this season.

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The Terps have lost their past three games to the Spartans, including a 14-point defeat in East Lansing last season, but have won three straight road games after dropping their first four. Many of those victories have also required comebacks from large deficits, which has been a defining trait for Maryland this season.

2. Do the Terps get back to their stingy defensive ways?

Despite having a considerable size advantage against the Cornhuskers, Maryland allowed Nebraska to shoot 54% from the field in the second half and Nebraska outscored Maryland in the paint, 34-28, as they cut a 14-point deficit to one with just seconds remaining. Turgeon was critical of his team’s defense, which has the fifth-best adjusted defensive efficiency rating, according to KenPom.

“We’re a good defensive team. We weren’t tonight,” Turgeon said after the team’s 72-70 win.

Compared with Nebraska, Michigan State has slightly more size, led by junior forward Xavier Tillman, who is averaging a double double in points and rebounds. But sophomore forward Jalen Smith and the Terps should still have the size advantage tonight.

3. Who shines in the point guard matchup?

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Saturday night will be a showcase of two of the best point guards in the Big Ten and college basketball: Maryland’s Anthony Cowan Jr. and Michigan State’s Cassius Winston. Both players were named to the initial watch list for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation’s top guard.

Cowan was left off the most recent watch list for the award on Feb. 3 but has been playing as well as any point guard in the nation, averaging 16.3 points and 4.6 assists. Like Cowan, Winston leads Michigan State as a scorer and a playmaker, averaging 18.3 points and 5.7 assists.

Cowan’s defense on Winston will also be worth watching. The senior leader was down on his play after the team’s win against Nebraska, saying it was likely his worst defensive game in his four-year career at Maryland.

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