“They” say it's difficult to beat the same team 3 times in one season, but that's what Maryland will try to do when it meets Michigan State in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament.
Terps-Spartans Betting Odds
Most NCAA Basketball odds we surveyed opened this game with Michigan State favored by two points, the total offered at right around 130. In the early betting many shops then bumped the Spartans to -2.5 and -3, and the total to 131.
Those thinking Maryland might win this game outright could get +125 on the moneyline at 5Dimes.
Terps-Spartans: The Situation
Michigan State has won nine of its last 12 games, after beating Ohio State Friday 76-67. The Spartans shot 48 percent from the floor, while holding the Buckeyes to less than 40 percent shooting.
Last Saturday MSU won at Indiana 74-72, and just before that it beat Purdue 72-66. So two of their last three wins have come against teams headed to the NCAA tournament, and the Hoosiers might make it, too.
Like many Coach Izzo teams of the past this edition of the Spartans has gotten better as the season has progressed. That might be evident in their 7-2 mark against the spread over their last nine games.
Maryland, meanwhile, owns an eight-game winning streak, after disposing of Indiana Friday 75-69. The Terps shot 45 percent from the floor, and held the Hoosiers to 36 percent shooting,
Last Sunday Maryland won at Nebraska 64-61, and just before that it won at Rutgers 60-50. The Terps covered as two-point favorites against Indiana Friday, as two-point favorites against the 'Huskers and as seven-point favorites over the Scarlet Knights. In fact, Maryland has covered its last five games in a row.
The winner of this game will play either Wisconsin or Purdue in the Big Ten championship game Sunday afternoon.
By the Numbers
Michigan State is shooting 47 percent from the floor on the season, and 39 percent from 3-point range, but just 63 percent from the FT line, which concerns us. Icing down covers is much easier when you're making your free-throws. At the other other end of the court the Spartans are holding opponents to less than 40 percent FG shooting.
Maryland is shooting 44 percent from the floor, 37 percent from long range and 76 percent from the line, which is great for a college team. The Terps are also holding foes to just less than 40 percent FG shooting.
The Season Series
Maryland has already beaten Michigan State twice this season, by scores of 68-66 in double-overtime up in East Lansing and 75-59 in College Park. The Terps tied that first meeting with a 3-pointer with two seconds left, then outlasted the Spartans in the extra time. Maryland then grabbed a 14-point halftime lead in the second meeting and never let Michigan State get within single-digits from there.
The Terps won that first game outright as six-point dogs, then covered the second meeting as three-point favorites.
Also, that first meeting needed two overtimes just to push the total at 134, while the second meeting just sneaked OVER its total of 132, as the teams combined to score 10 meaningless points in the last minute and a half.
Both these teams shot just 38 percent from the floor in those two games combined.
Terps-Spartans Betting Trends
Michigan State has played five OVERS in a row, in part because the Spartans have scored at least 72 points in four of their last five games.
Maryland has played seven UNDERS in its last 11 games, in part because it's been playing some good defense.
Terps-Spartans Free Pick
Maryland has already beaten Michigan State twice this season, and we don't see why the Terps can't complete the sweep. So we'll take the Terrapins as our college basketball pick to win this one outright.
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Maryland +125 on the moneyline at 5Dimes