Friday B1G Battle Finds Indiana at No. 9 Michigan State

indiana michigan state

Willie Bee

Friday, January 19, 2018 12:54 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 19, 2018 12:54 PM UTC

No. 9 Michigan State is the only ranked team in action on a short Friday card, and the Spartans are big favorites on the NCAA basketball odds to take down the visiting Indiana Hoosiers.

NCAAB Season Record: 27-28-1 (-2.40)

Indiana Hoosiers at No. 9 Michigan State SpartansFree NCAAB Pick: Under 142½Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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A couple of weeks ago after Michigan State ascended to the No. 1 slot in both polls, a column at ESPN suggested we should get used to it since the Spartans seemed likely “to be here awhile.” Two losses in the next three games and barely hanging on for the lone win, the worldwide leader in sports was asking what’s wrong with Michigan State?

Maybe the network should turn its focus inward to find the answer instead of taking such a knee-jerk approach to every win or loss. Or, maybe ESPN could just tune into Fox Sports 1 at 7 (ET) tonight when Tom Izzo and the No. 9 Spartans entertain the Indiana Hoosiers. Sportsbooks obviously don’t think there’s much wrong with Michigan State, 5Dimes favoring Sparty by 15 with 142½ for the total.

Neither Side Performing Well From 3-Point Range

If you discount games against schools like Howard and Tennessee Tech, the results of Indiana’s non-conference schedule were shaky at best in Archie Miller’s first go-round as head coach. Things have smoothed out a bit of late, however, the Hoosiers entering this fracas with a string of 3 straight wins and covers. This is still something of an offensively-challenged team, especially from behind the arc, and losing De’Ron Davis’ presence inside doesn’t help matters, the sophomore forward out for the season with a torn Achilles.

Poor shooting from outside is also behind Michigan State’s two recent losses. The last came about a week ago to rival Michigan, the Wolverines pulling away for an 82-72 win in East Lansing where the NCAA basketball odds favored Izzo’s squad by 9½. State was sloppy on offense, turning it over 18 times and connecting on just 3 of 13 from beyond the arc, and never could solve Michigan’s screens. Miles Bridges rediscovering his 3-point shot would go a long way to getting the Spartans back on track, the forward netting just 13 of his last 42.

Series History, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

Indiana won last year’s lone encounter, an 82-75 decision in Bloomington that covered a -5 line on the Hoosiers by a bucket. The victory snapped a string of 5 straight Michigan State wins, leaving Indiana with a 68-53 advantage in the rivalry. The 2017 clash went ‘over’ a 146 point total with room to spare, the third consecutive high-side winner in the series, while the four most recent meetings at Breslin Center split the totals.

Given their recent play, it’s impossible to have any confidence laying 15 on the Spartans this evening. But even with their string of covers, taking the Hoosiers and the points for my free college basketball pick isn’t an automatic, so let’s continue with another ‘under’ play.

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