Although unbeaten on the year, the Indiana Hoosiers enter Wednesday's crunch Big Ten affair against Michigan State as the underdogs. The action at Jack Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing begins at 7:30 PM EST.
Michigan State, who have beaten Indiana a staggering 17
straight times at home, will look for number 18 on Wednesday and are favored in
the NCAA Basketball odds as of this moment. This is the Big Ten opener for
Though subject to change before tipoff, the Spartans are
currently the 5.5-point favorites at the sportsbooks, with the total holding
steady at 140.5. An O/U of 141 can also be grabbed at certain NCAA basketball betting shops such as
Michigan State feeling untouchable
We should have never doubted Tom Izzo.
The Hall of Fame coach has consistently scheduled his team
some extremely difficult nonconference opponents, in hopes that it would
prepare them for conference play. It's paid off in the past and we're about to
find out how well it works very soon.
After losing to UNC and Duke to start the season, Michigan
State has put together a 11-game winning streak that's propelled them into the
top 25. The competition since those opening two games hasn't been nearly as
good overall, but the Spartans did beat Florida State by 16 and also got past
Gonzaga (74-67) on the road.
The Hoosiers, who are the only undefeated team in the Big
Ten, have already had a season to remember. That's mainly because of a perfect
12-0 start and of course that enthralling buzzer-beating win over #1 Kentucky a
few weeks ago.
Indiana has also beaten tough squads in Butler, NC State (on
the road), and Notre Dame (neutral court) this season, so they fully deserve
that #13 ranking in the AP poll.
What an impact Cody Zeller has made in his freshman year.
Brother of UNC star Tyler, Zeller is averaging 15.1 PPG and 7.3 RPG and his
play has been a big reason why the Hoosiers have returned to national
Besides Zeller, Indiana has gotten solid contributions from
Victor Oladipo, Jordan Hulls, and Christian Watford. However, two of their
other key performers, Verdell Jones III and Will Sheehey, are questionable to
play this coming Wednesday.
Hoosiers to get their first L of the season
Here's one trend that pops out at me: the home team has gone
14-3 ATS in the 17 most recent meetings between these two schools. Having the
fan support has obviously played a massive role in the outcomes of these games,
which bodes well for the Spartans.
Michigan State is also an incredibly good team on the glass,
owning a spot in the top five in rebounding margin. Altogether, the Spartans
average 41.9 rebounds a game, good for sixth in the nation.
The player who I really think could end up making the
difference is Keith Appling. When on his game, the Spartans are hard to beat.
If he can perform at the same level he did versus Florida State (24 points and
seven rebounds) on a consistent basis, Michigan State will benefit immensely.
Assuming Appling handles the occasion well, I expect the
Spartans to take it to the undefeated Hoosiers in this game. Draymond Green can
always be counted on to produce and his versatility will be a handful for
Indiana as well.
For these reasons, I'm picking Michigan State to cover as
one of my Wednesday NCAA basketball picks.
FREE Pick: Michigan State Spartans -5.5
Hoosiers are 7-0 ATS in last 7 games overall
Spartans are 5-2 ATS in last 7 games overall and 4-1 ATS in
last 5 games following a ATS loss
Home team in series is 14-3 ATS in last 17 meetings
Favorite is 6-2 ATS in last 8 head-to-head meetings
OVER is 4-1-1 in last 6
meetings at Michigan State