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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona vs. Michigan State will be huge for both teams to spark season

No. 10 Arizona kicks off college basketball season today as it takes on No. 12 Michigan State at 5 p.m. on ESPN. This game will be played in Hawaii as part of the Armed Forces Classic, which also includes No. 3 Kansas playing No. 11 Indiana.

Both teams are ready to start a new season after each team was upset in the first round last year. Arizona was upset by 11th-seeded Wichita State while Michigan State fell to 15th-seeded Middle Tennessee State.

Arizona sophomore Allonzo Trier did not travel with the team amidst concerns with his eligibility.

While the loss of Trier is huge for Arizona, the Wildcats do return forward Chance Comanche against Michigan State. Comanche missed the two exhibition games due to academic irresponsibility but figures to play a big role on Friday.

With Trier ineligible, senior shooting guard Kadeem Allen is the team’s leading returner in scoring (8.4) and assists (3.6). He is flanked by point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright while Rawle Alkins, Dusan Ristic and Lauri Markkanen make up the frontcourt.

For Michigan State, the Spartans lost superstar guard Denzel Valentine but do bring in a star studded freshman class led by Miles Bridges. Reading the scouting report from State News reporter Casey Harrison in an email, Bridges sounds like a force to be reckon with.

“Even as a big man, he can shoot, drive the lane, pass well and play defense,” Harrison wrote. “Bridges is dangerous in the paint and don’t be surprised if you see some really electric dunks from him.”

Arizona won’t be the only team with highly-regarded freshmen on the floor tonight.

“The freshmen are led by Miles Bridges, Cassius Winston, Josh Langford and Nick Ward, who provide depth and athleticism of the bench,” Harrison wrote. “Tom Izzo said Winston might be the best passer the program has seen since Magic Johnson.”

Arizona is a tough team for anyone to start the season with, but this is just the beginning for the Spartans nonconference schedule.

“The Spartans have a gauntlet of a road schedule with games against Duke, Kentucky, and likely opponents Baylor and Louisville,” Harrison wrote. “If they can survive with a decent record, that will show they’re a legitimate team.”

After this game, Arizona has its home opener in McKale Center when it faces California State Bakersfield on Tuesday.

Follow Daily Wildcat Hoops for live coverage of tonight’s season opener.

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