The 2019 Florida Sunshine Classic features No. 19 Michigan State, No. 22 West Virginia and Syracuse playing each other from December 20-22. Syracuse kicked off the tournament Friday afternoon with a 77-63 win over Michigan State. For the Orange, it was their first win over a ranked opponent in four attempts. For the Spartans, this is their third loss in their last five games; they’ll need to win against the Mountaineers to have a chance to stay ranked.
Michigan State has just two starters who have started in every game this season: sophomore Nia Clouden and senior Taryn McCutcheon. Clouden started every game as a freshman, averaging 12 points per game, and has pushed her scoring this season to 16 points per game, which leads the Spartans. McCutcheon is currently averaging 11.4 points per game, which would be a career-high for a season.
West Virginia started the season 5-0 but dropped a game against Creighton. The Mountaineers have won their last three, including an upset win against then-No. 10 Mississippi State. Kysre Gondrezick, who missed all but five games of last season due to personal reasons, leads West Virginia with 16.8 points per game, shooting 41 percent from downtown. Tynice Martin, who is averaging 14 points per game, is coming off of a season-high 22 points against Norfolk State; Martin was 4-for-5 from the beyond the arc as well.
It is pretty clear that the guard matchups in this game are going to be critical to the outcome. Look for the shots to fly from deep, as these teams average a combined 43 attempts, with West Virginia shooting at a clip of 35 percent and Michigan State shooting at 31 percent on the year.
No. 19 Michigan State (7-3) vs. No. 22 West Virginia (7-1)
When: Saturday, Dec 21, at 1:30 p.m. ET
Where: Warden Arena, Orlando, FL
How to watch: FloHoops (paid subscription), Mountaineer TV