Malik Hall is the X-factor for Michigan State versus USC

Malik Hall is the X-factor for Michigan State versus USC

The USC Trojans and Michigan State Spartans face off on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. With the Trojans coming off a tough loss to Arizona State, there are a lot of questions to be answered.

However, the Spartans provide their own fair share of questions after losing to Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament. Nonetheless, the Trojans are underdogs, and they have their hands full.

With the game coming up, Spartans Wire has provided a ton of insights on Michigan State. Cory Linsner of Spartans Wire named Malik Hall as his X-factor for Michigan State:

“A 6-foot-9 wing strikes a clear matchup problem for the Spartans, but there is one man that can step up to make things happen on the defensive end of the court for MSU, and that is Malik Hall,” Linsner wrote. “Hall, a 6’8″ wing, can match Peterson’s size to avoid the post game, while having quick feet to stay with the Trojans’ standout. If MSU is to win this game, and move on to the Round of 32, Malik Hall is going to have to bring his A-game.”

Hall is averaging 9.2 points per game with 4.2 rebounds on the year, but as Linsner mentions, his defense is going to be a factor for the Spartans against USC. With Drew Peterson expected to play despite battling injuries lately, Hall will likely have the tough task of guarding him.

Hall has also been dealing with injuries, so in many ways this could come down to which player feels better — and plays better — on Friday.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire