UALR Gameday: Trojans take on Michigan State


UALR (2-2) vs. Michigan State (1-2)
6 p.m. Tonight
East Lansing, Michigan
Big Ten Network
Vegas says: Michigan State by 22.5
Before the first game of the season, we cautioned against overreactions early this season, both the positive and negative variety.

We probably got a little to excited after a couple of home victories against nice teams. So maybe we’re a little overboard after such a disappointing loss to Eastern Michigan? Please? Pretty please?

That brings us to tonight’s game as the Trojans take on Michigan State. You can watch for yourself with the Trojans and Spartans playing out their version of the Trojan War at 6 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.

So what should we expect from UALR tonight? A victory? That seems far fetched after such a lack-luster performance on Friday in Ysplanti, Mich. We’d settle for a much better effort. The Trojans had made visible improvement in every game this season until Friday’s disaster. There needs to be some improvement tonight. And if a miracle isn’t possible, a moral victory would be nice.

This preview isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good considering their lack of knowledge about the Trojans:

A few years ago, UALR traveled to Grand Rapids, Mich., to take on Michigan State. UALR pushed the Spartans to the final minute that afternoon. After the game, Tom Izzo called the Trojans “Junkyard Dogs” because of their toughness. He said he could sense it from the time the Trojans took the court for warmups. This year’s team has yet to display any of that “Junkyard” toughness. They’ve played more like Pound Puppies.

OK. That’s harsh and isn't fair. It's a definite overreaction.

The bottom line is this. UALR is a very inexperienced team with a ton of potential. They’re going to look great some nights and pathetic on others. So, we all better get used to the inconsistency. Wins and losses are important. But more important is getting this team ready for Sun Belt play. The only way this team is going to the NCAA Tournament is to win three (or four) consecutive games in Hot Springs in March. That was the case before and after Friday’s loss.

We’ve seen flashes of greatness from most of the newcomers this year. Unfortunately, they all looked awful at the same time on Friday.

Tonight’s predictions:

  • Real Time RPI (3-1): Michigan St. 84, UALR 59
  • Jeff Sagarin (2-2): Michigan St. 92, UALR 67
  • CBS Sportsline (2-2): Michigan St. 82, UALR 54
  • The Sports Network (2-2): Michigan St. 68, UALR 55

Here's the game preview from The Sports Network: