Michigan State Basketball Wing Kyle Ahrens Looks To Iowa

Hondo S. Carpenter

The Michigan State Spartans went into Lincoln, Nebraska and came out on top dropping the Cornhuskers 86-65. The win improved the men in green’s season record and conference record to 18-9 (10-5).

The team will return to the hard-court Tuesday, February 25, 2020, in East Lansing at the Breslin Center. They will be taking on the No. 20 Iowa Hawkeyes. It can be seen on ESPN2 at 7:00 PM ET.

In the above video, we check in with Kyle Ahrens as he talks about the state of the Spartans.

Here are five key things looking ahead to Tuesday’s game courtesy of Mex Carey, the fantastic MSU SID:

1. Series History

Michigan State and Iowa meet for the first time this season and for the 130st time in program history ... MSU leads the all-time series with Iowa, 75-55 ... MSU has won 13 of the last 15 games, and 18 of the last 21 overall, including a pair of games last year ... Tom Izzo is 33-11 in his career against Iowa.

2. Last Year Against Iowa

The Spartans swept a pair of games last year, beating Iowa on Dec. 3, 90-68, at the Breslin Center, and then posting an 82-67 win in Iowa City on Jan. 27 ... In the first game, Kenny Goins scored a career-high 19 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and handed out seven assists and Nick Ward had a career-high 26 points as MSU limited Iowa to just three points over the first 10 minutes of the second half and opened up a 30-point lead ... The Spartans had four players in double-figure scoring, as Xavier Tillman finished with a then career-high 14 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks, while Joshua Langford added 14 points and five assists ... Cassius Winston finished with eight points and 12 assists ... In the second meeting, Winston scored 23 points and had seven assists and Ward finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds as MSU used a 24-2 run in the second half to take a 66-52 lead ... Matt McQuaid hit a trio of 3-pointers in the second half and had nine points, while Goins added seven points, eight rebounds, and two assists.

3. 1-2 Punch

Senior guard Cassius Winston and junior forward Xavier Tillman are forming quite the 1-2 punch for the Spartans ... ESPN’s Seth Greenberg said the duo “might be the best combination in college basketball” ... Combined, they are averaging 31.3 points, 12.6 rebounds, 8.5 assists, and 2.1 blocks while shooting 47.2 percent from the floor (299-of-633) ... In Big Ten games, they are averaging 33.5 points, 13.2 rebounds, 8.8 assists, and 2.5 blocks and shooting 47.8 percent from the floor (191-of-400) ... Overall, they have combined to account for 41.4 percent of MSU’s scoring (844 of 2,038 points), including 47.5 percent in league games (536 of 1,129 points).

4. About the Spartans

Senior guard Cassius Winston leads MSU, and ranks third in the Big Ten, in scoring, averaging 18.3 points per game … Winston is also fourth in the league in assists (5.7 APG), first in free throw percentage, connecting on 87.0 percent of his shots (100-of-115), 10th in field goal percentage (42.9%), second in 3-point percentage (39.6%) and tied for second in steals (1.3 SPG) ... Junior forward Xavier Tillman is second on the team with 13.6 points per game (T14th in the Big Ten) and tops the team (3rd in the Big Ten) with 10.3 rebounds per game while adding 3.0 assists (T14th in the Big Ten) per game and 2.1 blocks per game (4th in the Big Ten) ... Tillman is the only player in the league in the top-15 in scoring, rebounding, assists and blocks ... Sophomore forward Aaron Henry is third on the team with 9.6 points per game, while adding 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists ... MSU has three other players averaging at least 4.0 points per game, led by sophomore forward Gabe Brown, who is averaging 7.6 points and 3.8 rebounds and scored a career-high 17 points at Nebraska ... Freshman guard Rocket Watts, who scored a career-high 21 points at Illinois, who is averaging 7.5 points per game (8.0 in Big Ten games) ... ... Freshman forward Malik Hall, who has started the last seven games, is averaging 4.3 points and 3.5 rebounds.

5. Family Matters

Michigan State junior forward Xavier Tillman had a busy weekend, with the Spartans playing Maryland over the weekend at home ... On top of that, Tillman’s wife, Tamia, gave birth to their second child, a boy, Xavier Justis Tillman Jr. on Monday morning ... Tillman’s wife gave birth to the 7-pound, 8-ounce baby boy at 12:38 a.m. on Feb. 17 ... This is the second child for the couple, who have a 3-year-old daughter, Ayanna ... Tillman did not practice on Monday but was back with the team on Tuesday.

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