|Difficult stretch ahead for No. 5 Michigan State|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 24 November 2008 22:56|
The fifth-ranked Spartans face Maryland in the first round of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday and will take on either No. 9 Gonzaga or Oklahoma State in the next round.
The other half of the bracket features No. 12 Tennessee and No. 21 Georgetown.
When the dust settles from this weekend's Florida trip, Michigan State's schedule gets even tougher.
The Spartans battle No. 1 North Carolina on Dec. 3 at Detroit's Ford Field as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The four-game stretch is potentially one of the toughest ever faced in a single week of a regular season by Michigan State (2-0) and coach Tom Izzo.
playing group a little bit and get our rotation down.''
Senior center Goran Suton has an injured knee that puts his status in question for this weekend and perhaps beyond, Izzo said. If Suton plays at all, his minutes likely will be limited. More will be known about the extent of the injury in the coming days.
The Spartans also are trying to limit minutes for freshman forward Delvon Roe, who's still recovering from a knee injury suffered in high school.
Michigan State, featuring one of the nation's most talented and deep lineups, beat overmatched Idaho and IPFW in its first two games.
Forward Raymar Morgan (21.5 points per game) became the first Spartan to open the season with back-to-back games of 20 points or more since Shawn Respert in 1992-93. Guards Kalin Lucas (15 points, 6.0 assists) and Chris Allen (14.0 points) also are off to good starts.
Maryland (3-0) is unbeaten but not ranked. Guard Greivis Vasquez leads the Terrapins in scoring (22.3 points), rebounds (7.7) and assists (6.0)
Izzo and Maryland coach Gary Williams share an intense coaching style. Both were on a trip to Kuwait in 2006 to coach and visit U.S. military personnel.
``His nickname is `Wacko' and it's well-deserved,'' Izzo said of Williams. ``He's a good guy. He's a coaches' coach.''
The Michigan State-Maryland winner plays the Gonzaga-Oklahoma State winner on Friday. The losers of those opening round games also play Friday.
The tournament's final round is Sunday.