#Betting101: Fading the Scandal-Ridden Spartans

Jason Lake

Monday, February 12, 2018 1:42 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 12, 2018 1:42 PM UTC

The top teams in Division I are falling like flies. Looks like it’s time to fade some of these overvalued programs for our college basketball picks – starting with Michigan State.

It’s mayhem on the college basketball court. Each of the top three teams on the Week 14 AP poll suffered losses; the No. 1 Villanova Wildcats and the No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers lost as double-digit home faves, while the No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers fell 68-65 to the No. 4 Michigan State Spartans (–3 at home). MSU could be on top of the Week 15 rankings by the time you read this.

That doesn’t mean they’re the best team in Division I. Ken Pomeroy has the Spartans (24-3 SU, 13-12-2 ATS) at No. 6 on his efficiency charts, thanks in part to one of the softest non-conference schedules in college hoops. Good fortune has played a role as well; Michigan State ranks No. 87 overall in Luck Factor. They’ve won eight straight games, but only at 2-4-2 ATS, with each of the last three victories coming by three points. This is exactly the kind of team we should be fading with our college basketball picks.

This Is Not Good

And we haven’t even talked about what’s happening off the court in East Lansing. The entire Michigan State athletic program is under a dark cloud after the Larry Nassar story broke; Nassar, who was a faculty member at MSU, was also the USA Gymnastics national team doctor, and as you’re probably aware by now he’s been convicted of multiple sex offenses. Michigan State has been accused of enabling Nassar’s behavior, leading to the resignations of president Lou Anna Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis.

Digging deeper, an ESPN Outside the Lines investigation has uncovered even more allegations involving head coach Tom Izzo’s basketball program. Whether or not these allegations are true, this ever-widening scandal is going to make it harder for Izzo and his players to focus on the task at hand. And Michigan State is already 3-7-2 ATS since the start of Big Ten play.

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ESPN reports that Tom Izzo says that silence on the sexual assault allegations should not be taken as an admission of guilt

— Kyle Austin (@kylebaustin) February 4, 2018

Our next opportunity to fade the Spartans is Tuesday, when they visit the Minnesota Golden Gophers (14-13 SU, 10-16 ATS) at 9 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2. The Gophers had a weak non-con schedule of their own, and they’re 3-9 ATS in the Big Ten, so we might want to skip this one and look ahead to Saturday’s game against the Northwestern Wildcats (15-11 SU, 10-13 ATS), who are on a 4-2 SU and ATS run with upset victories over Minnesota (–2 at home), the Wisconsin Badgers (–2.5 at home) and the Michigan Wolverines (–1.5 away). That game tips off at 2 p.m. Eastern on FOX. Good hunting, and may the sphere be with you.

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