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Michigan State seeks answer to big question vs. Oakland


Is Michigan State back after a bad start?

That is the question that will continue to be answered when the Spartans host in-state foe Oakland on Monday in East Lansing, Mich.

After being ranked No. 4 in the preseason poll, the Spartans quickly tumbled out of the rankings with a 4-5 start, their worst since 2003-04.

But Michigan State showed it can still be an excellent team on Saturday when it crushed previously unbeaten and No. 6-ranked Baylor 88-64 in a game at Detroit.

“I’m not going to get excited that (Saturday) was the ends all, means all, either,” Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. “It was a step in the right direction. It shows you what we can be against a very, very good team.”

Michigan State (5-5) has been led offensively by guard Tyson Walker, who scores 20.8 points per game.

Against Baylor, Michigan State did something it hadn’t done well in its previous games, which is make 3-point shots.

The Spartans shot 8 of 12 from 3-point range against the Bears and hope that can be a sign of things to come the rest of the season, starting against Oakland.

Michigan State and Oakland play every year, but the Golden Grizzlies have yet to beat the Spartans in 21 meetings since Oakland became a Division I program in 1998.

Oakland (6-5) will have had 10 days off since its last game, a 77-63 win at Eastern Michigan on Dec. 8. It will be the third Big Ten opponent this year for Oakland, which lost by six at Ohio State and by 11 at Illinois to open the season.

The Golden Grizzlies are led in scoring by Trey Townsend (15.8 points) in what is head coach Greg Kampe’s 40th season at the helm.

“This team, to be successful — and we have a chance to be very good — has to play from the basket out on offense and has to play with unbelievable and relentless intensity defensively,” Kampe said. “Unmatched intensity. If we do that, we’re really good. We’ve proven that through 11 games.”

–Field Level Media

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