What UVA Basketball fans need to know about Michigan State

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Michigan State beat Duke. There. Does that answer your question?

OK, now that I have your attention: Sparty also trailed Detroit Mercy by five with 10 minutes left in a seven-point win on Friday.

And led Western Michigan by two with 12 minutes left in what turned into an 18-point win on Sunday.

So: they’re as up-and-down as anybody else right now.

Their leading scorer is a kid you might have heard of: a 6’9” redshirt sophomore named Joey Hauser, who looks an awful lot like Virginia’s leading scorer, a 6’9” redshirt senior named Sam Hauser.

Turns out, and stop me if you’ve heard this, but, they’re brothers.

And otherwise spitting images on the floor. Joey is scoring 14.0 points per game, hauling in 10.0 rebounds per game, shooting 54.3 percent from the floor, 39.1 percent from three and 68.8 percent from the floor.

Sam: 14.5 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game, 58.5 percent from the floor, 43.8 percent from three, 75.0 percent from the line.

Michigan State will push the pace – 73.1 possessions per game, 84th nationally, per KenPom.com – keyed by 6’2” sophomore point guard Rocket Watts, who is scoring 13.6 points per game and dishing out 4.2 assists per game, shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from three.

Hauser is actually the most effective player in transition, averaging 1.643 points per possession and shooting 70 percent, per Synergy.

He’s also their most effective post-up guy – averaging 1.222 points per post possession, shooting 71.4 percent on shots in the post.

You also need to account for rugged 6’6”, 210-pound junior forward Aaron Henry (11.6 ppg, 6.2 rebounds/g, 5.2 assists/g), who you might notice leads the team in assists.

He also leads the team in minutes per game (29.2).

Three other guys to watch out for, all of whom can shoot from deep: 6’7” junior Gabe Brown (8.8 ppg, 47.6% 3FG), 6’5” senior Joshua Langford (6.8 ppg, 40.0% 3FG) and 6’0” junior Foster Loyer (6.0 ppg, 43.8% 3FG).

Tom Izzo will go 10 deep with his rotation.

The reptuation is that they’ll get every rebound. KenPom.com has them 104th in offensive rebounding and 97th in defensive rebounding.

Virginia ranks 214th in offensive rebounding and 26th in defensive rebounding.

Expect that one to be basically even.

UVA, as is usual, ranks dead last in the nation in tempo (63.0 possessions per game).

This one, as practically every game, will play at Virginia’s pace.

Should be fun.

Just wish we had it with fans. I’ve been clamoring for years for UVA-Michigan State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Seems a natural, from the Virginia fans perspective, after Sparty knocked us out of the 2014 and 2015 NCAA Tournaments.

That seems so long ago.

Details

The Virginia-Michigan State game will be televised on ESPN and streamed live on WatchESPN.com and ESPN App.

The game will also be broadcast on the Virginia Sports Radio Network, VirginiaSports.com and Virginia Sports app.

Live statistics will be located on VirginiaSports.com and the Virginia Sports app.

Join the Voice of the Cavaliers Dave Koehn and special guest Sam Hauser for the “Wahoo Walkthrough” at 8:15 p.m. on the Virginia Sports App, VirginiaSports.com and select stations on the Virginia Sports Radio Network.

Series

The Cavaliers are 0-5 all-time vs. Michigan State in the series that dates back to the 1946-47 season.

Michigan State knocked the Cavaliers out of the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two meetings between the teams (2014 NCAA Sweet Sixteen 61-59 and 2015 NCAA second round 60-54).

Virginia and Michigan State meet for the third time in the Challenge. Michigan State topped Virginia 82-75 in East Lansing, Mich., in the 2002 Challenge, while the Spartans-Cavaliers 2001 Challenge game was halted due to wet floor conditions at Richmond Coliseum.

The Skinny

Story by Chris Graham


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