Northwestern Vs. Michigan State Preview: Tough Big Ten Slate Continues For Wildcats

COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 28: Lenzelle Smith, Jr. #32 of the Ohio State Buckeyes grabs a round ahead of Reggie Hearn #11 of the Northwestern Wildcats on December 28, 2011 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Northwestern 87-54. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Northwestern is trying to end a two-game skid.

Northwestern already has played Ohio State, Michigan and Illinois in early Big Ten conference play, and the schedule doesn't get any easier on Saturday when the Wildcats host a Spartans team that hasn't lost a game since Nov. 15.


Related: Michigan State Spartans vs. Northwestern Wildcats Basketball Preview

If the Wildcats are going to get back on the winning track, they'll have to find a way to slow what has been a very effective Michigan State offense. Especially crucial will be defensive rebounds, which has been an area of struggle for Northwestern this season. Michigan State shoots well, so taking advantage of the shots the Spartans do miss and holding them to one-and-done possessions will be crucial.

Date & Time: Saturday, Jan. 14. 2:00 p.m. CT

TV: Big Ten Network

Odds: Michigan State is favored by 4-1/2 points.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage, visit Northwestern blog Sippin' On Purple and Michigan State blog The Only Colors. For more from around college hoops, check out SB Nation's NCAA basketball news hub.

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