Dolphins head north to face No. 10 Michigan State

Nov. 30, 2007

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - "On the road again. I just can't wait to get on the road again."

Those famous words by Willie Nelson will be going over and over in the minds of the JU men's basketball team as they play four games in the next eight days, starting with No. 10 Michigan State on Saturday.

Saturday's tipoff is set for 7 p.m. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network, with a viewing party set for the original Mudville Grille at San Marco.

"Michigan State is a very good program and they have a lot of talented players with experience," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "We can't worry about Michigan State though. We have to work on us and getting better as a team."

The Michigan State game marks the third straight year that the Dolphins have a faced a team ranked in the AP top 10. JU has lost its last six games against teams in the AP top 25, dating back to Dec. 21, 1994 when the Dolphins knocked off then No. 8 Florida, 68-67.

"Anytime you get an opportunity to play a top 10 team, it is good for your program," Warren said. "This is a great experience for young team as they face a challenging opponent on the road. These are the type of games that make you stronger for conference play."

Michigan State is far from the ideal place to snap a two-game losing streak after the impressive 3-0 start.

The Dolphins have struggled shooting the ball of late and scored a season-low 60 points in the loss to Georgia State on Wednesday.

Another source of contention for the Dolphins was the Panthers strong shooting performance, hitting 50 percent of their shots from the floor, including six 3-pointers.

"We've got to become more consistent with our effort for the entire 40 minutes," Warren said.

The gauntlet the Dolphins face in the next eight days features three teams from last year's NCAA Tournament, including half of last year's Final Four. JU returns home on Sunday and heads to Gainesville to face the two-time defending national champions on Monday.

Following that, the Dolphins head to Washington, D.C. to face American on Friday and Georgetown on Sunday.

"It's a difficult stretch on the schedule, there is no doubt about that," Warren said. "It gives our program a lot of exposure and enables us to let our young guys go against some of the best teams in the country."