Indiana Still Seeking Answers Against Spartans

Mark Lathrop

Saturday, February 3, 2018 4:43 PM UTC

Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 4:43 PM UTC

Road chalk is a tough pill to swallow in conference play; however, our NCAA handicapper, Mark Lathrop, doesn't believe the home court advantage for the Hoosiers is as great as this line indicates.

Michigan State Spartans vs. Indiana Hoosiers

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Free NCAAB Pick: Michigan State -8.5Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

The Michigan State Spartans continue their quest for a 1-seed in the NCAA tournament on Saturday night, as they travel to Indiana to take on the Hoosiers for the second time this season. The depleted Hoosiers are sitting barely over .500 on the season at this point, and are 5-6 in B1G Conference play. This will be the fifth game in 12 days for both teams, and these teams played on the 19th of January with the Spartans routing the Hoosiers 85-57 as a 14.5-point favorite. That doesn’t really allow much time for extra practice. The odds on this game opened with Michigan State as an 8-point favorite, a line that quickly jumped to 8.5 or 9 depending on where you look. The O/U total is currently sitting at 141.5 across the board.

The first game between these two teams 2 weeks ago was a dominant performance by the Spartans. They won every 10-minute segment of the game – sites like KenPom will give you a quarterly score breakdown – and took a 42-23 lead into halftime. The Hoosiers struggled to do anything well, shooting just 36.4% from the field and 30.8% from beyond the arc. The Spartans won the battle of the glass easily with a 45-27 advantage overall, and Michigan State also had a 23-9 advantage in assists. Nothing Indiana did was challenging the Michigan State offense from running efficiently.

When looking at KenPom conference play rankings, this prior win by the Spartans is not surprising. The only advantage that the Hoosiers hold over Michigan State are in some turnover statistics. That advantage actually played out in the first game, but didn’t help Indiana in the scoreboard department. The shooting statistics also portray a terrible matchup for the Hoosiers offense. Indiana does not possess the 3-point shooting to take advantage of Michigan State’s relative weakness defending beyond the arc, and the Spartan’s 2-point defense is the best in the country, not just the B1G Conference.

Quotes from Indiana’s coach Archie Miller tell a story of finding excuses for the recent slide other than the shorthanded roster, "When you're at game five in 12 days, it's difficult, every coach just has to absorb the ups and downs. For us, we just have to get back on our feet, clean some things up, and get ready for a very difficult game against Michigan State. Michigan State presents a heck of a challenge. The first time we played them, we caught them playing as well as they have all season."

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#B1G Basketball in Bloomington tonight 🏀⬇️#GoGreen#BeatIndiana

— Spartan Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) February 3, 2018

Michigan State hasn’t slowed down since that game though, and comes into this game winners of 5 games in a row. This line implies a 6-point home court advantage for Indiana, and I just don’t see it. I’ll be backing the Spartans at -8.5 as my Saturday NCAAB pick.

2017-18 NCAAB Record: 27-22, +3.55 Units

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