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Iowa vs Michigan State Preview: Top Teams in Need of a Win

MSU and the Hawkeyes look to finish their season strong on senior night for the Spartans.

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers:

Iowa

Team

Michigan St.

20-9 (9-7)

Record

22-7 (11-5)

24

Ranking

22

32

RPI

21

13

BPI

16

12

KenPom

19

11

Sagarin

12

March 6, 2014 - Breslin Center, East Lansing, Michigan

9:00 PM EST - ESPN/WatchESPN

Skinny:

In the first meeting at Iowa, Michigan State pulled out a two point overtime win despite missing Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson. The Spartans' lineup will be complete tonight as they look to end a two-game losing streak and celebrate Senior Night with a victory over the Hawkeyes. Both teams could use a change in momentum heading in the postseason after having gone 1-3 in their last four games. Fran McCaffery's team needs a win to try and earn a bye in the BTT, while Izzo's squad can right the ship after a loss to rival Michigan and at home to Illinois lost them a shot at a regular season title. This is not a must win for either team, but a victory would definitely be nice.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Iowa

Pos.

Michigan State

Mike Gesell

G

Keith Appling

Roy Devyn Marble

G

Gary Harris

Aaron White

F-G

Denzel Valentine

Melsahn Basabe

F

Branden Dawson

Adam Woodbury

C

Adreian Payne

Players to Watch:

Roy Devyn Marble: Marble is still in the conversation for B1G player of the year and could improve his chances by outperforming fellow competitor Gary Harris tonight. Marble was the leading scorer in the first meeting with 21 points, shooting 46.7% from the field while the rest of his teammates shot 33.3%. Marble has been playing better as the season has gone on, scoring and assisting above his average the last 4 games.

Aaron White: White is Iowa's second best player and leads the team in rebounds and FT% this year. The junior had a decent game in the first matchup, but the Hawkeyes are going to need more from him if they are going to pull off a win in the Breslin Center.

Adreian Payne: Payne is going to be playing his last game in front of the home crowd tonight, and I expect the big man to put in an impressive effort.

Keith Appling: Senior night for Appling unfortunately comes at a time that has him playing through a difficult wrist injury. It has been obvious since his return to action that he has lingering issues that are affecting his shot; he has gone just 2-8 from the line in the last 4 games. Hopefully in his last home game Keith can fight through the pain and have a game like Spartan fans are used to seeing from their point guard.

Iowa Perspective:

The Hawkeyes are basically a lock to make into the NCAA tournament field, but they have done some damage to their resume recently. Marble and White have continued to play well through the rough patch, but the rest of the team needs to step up and finish games. Hopefully that will start tonight.

Michigan State Perspective:

Senior night is always an important event for a team, but when you have guys like Appling and Payne who have done so much for you in four years it really makes it special. The crowd will be pumped up and a victory is going to be expected. Hopefully forner walk-on Dan Chapman will see the floor at some point tonight.

Prediction:

This game really is a tossup, so I'll go with MSU's seniors helping win on an emotional night. Michigan State: 78 Iowa: 75