Two of the Big Tens best go at it in Iowa City as the Michigan State Spartans travel to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes. Michigan State leads the all time series 72-53, and has won 3 straight against the Hawkeyes.
Michigan State defeated #13 ranked Maryland at home on Monday by a score off 69-55. Last Sunday (1/13) they beat Penn State on the road 71-56, and last Thursday (1/17) they beat Nebraska on the road 70-64.
Iowa smoked Illinois at home last time out by a score of 95-71. Last Saturday (1/12) they knocked of #16 ranked Ohio State at home 72-62, and last Wednesday (1/16) they beat Penn State on the road 89-82.
Michigan State is 15-4 ATS this season, 5-2 ATS on the road, and 9-1 ATS in their last 10. Iowa is 10-9 ATs this season, 8-7 ATS at home, and 7-3 ATS in their last 10.
BetOnline have the Spartans as 5.5 point favourites with an O/U total of 157.
(16-3 overall, 11-1 at home, 5-3 in conference play)
Iowa is peaking at the right time, and they are averaging 82.8 PPG, 36.6 RPG, 16.8 APG, 3.8 BPG, and 6.5 SPG. As a team, they are shooting 47.9% from the floor, 37.3% from 3 point range, and 75.7% from the free throw line. Iowa holds teams to 72.2 PPG, 43.4% shooting from the field, and 30.7% shooting from 3 point range.They are a very well rounded team, getting double digit scoring from 5 different players.
Tyler Cook leads the way for them with 16.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 0.8 BPG while shooting 59.1% from the field and 70.7% from the free throw line. Luka Garza chips in 13.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 0.9 APG, and 0.6 BPG while shooting 53% from the field, 28.9% from 3, and 85.5% from the free throw line. Joe Weiskamp is a knockdown shooter, averaging 11.9 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.1 APG, and 0.8 SPG while shooting 51% from the field, 45.3% from 3, and 72.9% from the free throw line. Jordan Bohannon (11.2 PPG/2.5 RPG/3.3 APG), Isaiah Moss (10.0 PPG/2.6 RPG/2.4 APG), and Nicholas Baer (6.5 PPG/4.6 RPG/1.4 SPG/1.2 BPG) provide supporting production.
Michigan State Spartans
(17-2 overall, 5-1 on the road, 8-0 in conference play)
Michigan State has been phenomenal this season, scoring 83.8 PPG, 43.5 RPG, 20.6 APG, 5.7 BPG, and 5.5 SPG. As a team they are shooting 49.9% from the field, 38.4% from 3 point range, and 72.6% from the free throw line. Defensively, the Spartans allow 66.1 PPG, 36.6% shooting from the field, and 30.5% shooting from 3 point range. They are led by veteran guard Cassius Winston and his 18 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 7.3 APG, and 1.1 SPG while shooting 48.9% from the field, 44% from 3, and 79.5% from the free throw line.
Big man Nick Ward averages 15.7 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 1.4 BPG, and he shoots 62.8% from the field and 66.4% from the free throw line. Matt McQuaid is their knockdown shooter, and he averages 8.4 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.1 APG, and shoots 43.3% from 3. Xavier Tillman (8.4 PPG/7.4 RPG/1.1 SPG/1.8 BPG), Kenny Goins (7.1 PPG/9.6 RPG/1.4 BPG), and Kyle Ahrens (5.8 PPG/2.6 RPG/1.3 APG) give them major minutes as well.
G Kyle Ahrens (back) – questionable, G Joshua Langford (ankle) – out
Michigan State is one of the toughest teams in the country to defend due to their size and shotmaking ability from the perimeter. Goins, Tillman, and Ward are all legitimate big bodies down low capable of bullying teams around, especially on the boards. Cassius Winston is one of the most dynamic ballhandlers in the nation, and his ability to pull up on a dime or create for his teammates off of ball screens is incredibly tough to defend.
However, if Iowa shoots the ball anything like they did against Illinois last time out (15 made 3 pointers, 71.4% from 3 point range) which they are capable of on their home floor, Michigan State will have no chance. Its highly unlikely Iowa shoots anything like that, but if they can knock down 3’s when they are presented and make the Spartans big men defend all the way out to the 3 point line, they will be in business.
Iowa is a classic basketball team in the way they rotate the ball around on the perimeter, take care of the ball, and take advantage of opponents mistakes by creating opportunistic turnovers, and while they shouldn’t walk out of here with a win, they can and should confidently keep this one to a single digit, even one score game throughout.
Final Pick: Iowa Hawkeyes (+5.5)