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North Florida (5-6) at (5) Michigan State (8-1)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 17, 7 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Breslin Center (14,797) -- East Lansing, Michigan. Television: BTN. Home Record: UNF 3-1, MSU 4-1. Away Record: UNF 2-5, MSU 0-0. Neutral Record: UNF 0-0, MSU 4-0. Conference Record: UNF 0-0, MSU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: Facing their third opponent from the Big Ten Conference this season, the Ospreys of North Florida have flown north to challenge the fifth- ranked Michigan State Spartans at the Breslin Center on Tuesday night.

North Florida currently sits a game below .500 at 5-6, and the team has played the majority of its games on the road (seven of 11). In fact, the Osrpeys have logged more than 8,500 miles already, and this is the third straight road game for UNF, all against major conference foes. This is also the second of back- to-back outings versus a team from the Big Ten. The squad was last in action 10 days ago, as it dropped an 89-68 decision at Indiana. The Osrpeys do however, have the luxury of playing their next three at home, the second of which (vs. Kennesaw State) marks the opening of Atlantic Sun Conference play.

Michigan State is ranked fifth in the AP poll for the second straight week after falling from the top spot following its lone setback of the season against North Carolina on Dec. 4. The Spartans didn't look all that great in their first game following the loss, but managed to get back on track as they slipped past Oakland this past Saturday. This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two teams on the hardwood, and it is MSU's first home game in nearly two weeks. Following this clash, the Spartans play at Texas on Saturday, and they will open Big Ten play at Penn State on New Year's Eve.

North Florida is hitting 44.1 percent of its field goal attempts, including 36 percent of its 3-point tries, both of which help the team put up 72.6 ppg. Unfortunately, opponents are making good on 46.3 percent of their total shots, while taking advantage of more than 15 UNF turnovers per outing in netting 75.5 ppg. The Osrpeys have just two players scoring in double figures on a consistent basis, but the 11.8 and 11.6 ppg, respectively, turned in by Dallas Moore and Travis Wallace don't really cause an opposing coach to lie awake at night trying to figure out how to stop them. In all, eight players are producing at least 5.8 ppg, and Wallace leads the attack on the glass with 7.3 rpg.

Even though his team lost by 21 at Indiana last time out, Moore was a man possessed as he nailed four treys on his way to 27 points as the only UNF player to reach double figures. The Ospreys shot just 37.1 percent from the floor, while the Hoosiers knocked down 46.4 percent of their total shots. The visitors were guilty of 17 giveaways, and they were outrebounded (49-40) and outscored at the foul line (19-9) as well.

From an offensive standpoint, Michigan State gets significant production from a number of players, including Gary Harris, Keith Appling and Adreian Payne, all of whom average at least 16.3 ppg. Branden Dawson is averaging a near double-double with 10.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, while Payne also helps on the glass with 8.0 rpg. Appling serves as the team's primary playmaker with 5.1 apg, helping the Spartans lead the nation with 20.0 helpers per contest. As a team, MSU is shooting 48.1 percent from the field, which includes a 39.1 percent showing from 3-point range, and nets 81.4 ppg, while at the defensive end, holding the opposition to 67.8 ppg behind typical shooting outputs of .391 overall and .318 from downtown. Add favorable margins in both rebounding (+4.0) and turnovers (+2.3), and it's easy to see why the Spartans are off to such a tremendous start.

Appling scored 21 points, while Payne (20 points, 10 rebounds) and Dawson (16 points, 13 rebounds) both had double-doubles, but 17 turnovers allowed a poor shooting Oakland team (.383) to hang around in what eventually wound up as a four-point win for the Spartans. A 41-32 advantage on the boards helped Michigan State, which actually trailed at the half (31-30).

Coach Tom Izzo's club shot just 35.9 percent from the floor, missing 17 of its 24 3-point attempts along the way, and turned the ball over 14 times in the loss to North Carolina.

The road-weary Ospreys aren't going to win this game, but it won't be for a lack of effort. They simply lack the overall talent and depth needed to compete against the top teams in the nation. The Spartans need to start playing up to their billing as such, or the better teams it will face in the coming weeks and months will surely make them pay.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Michigan State 80, North Florida 59

12/17 10:37:26 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 24
DET 7
Final
TOR 5
TAM 6
Final
DET 6
CLE 4
Final
NYM 0
WAS 3
Final
PIT 7
CHC 3
Final
PHI 4
MIA 5
Final
KAN 4
BOS 8
Final
MIL 9
CIN 2
Final
CWS 4
MIN 6
Final
STL 4
COL 1
Final
TEX 10
ATL 3
Final
ANA 1
HOU 6
Final
SFG 2
LOS 4
Final
SEA 0
OAK 4
Final
ARI 8
SDP 6
Final
BAL 3
NYY 2
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
TOR
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
MIA
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
WAS
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
CIN
 
8:10pm Tonight
KAN
CWS
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
CLE
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
DET
 
8:40pm Tonight
COL
LOS
 
9:40pm Tonight
ARI
SFG
 
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
SEA
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
PHI
 
Final
NYG 14
ARI 25
Final
CIN 24
ATL 10
Final
TEN 10
DAL 26
Final
CAR 24
DET 7
Final
WAS 41
JAC 10
Final
BUF 29
MIA 10
Final
MIN 7
NEP 30
Final
CLE 26
NOS 24
Final
SDC 30
SEA 21
Final
TAM 17
STL 19
Final
OAK 14
HOU 30
Final
DEN 24
KAN 17
Final
GBP 31
NYJ 24
Final
SFX 20
CHI 28
 
8:30pm Tonight
IND
PHI