Coach Tom Izzo and the experienced #22 Michigan State Spartans (25-8) have been spectacular all season long ever since they knocked off the then #1 Kentucky Wildcats in the season opener. Now, the Spartans face a tough #8 Michigan (25-7) team in the Big-Ten Conference Championship. Are they up for the challenge.
Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 pm ET Sunday in Indianapolis, Indiana and can be seen on CBS TV.
Odds Are Telling
All you have to do is look at the NCAA basketball odds and you’ll see who’s expected to win this game. Although the Wolverines have the better ranking as the #8 team in the country as opposed to the Spartans 22nd ranking, the Spartans are the favorite in this inter-state matchup by 3 points and the total for the game is listed at 138. This is major respect given to Michigan State.
An 83-75 victory over the defensive-minded Wisconsin Badgers earned Michigan State a lot of respect coming into this game. State got out to a 43-25 lead in the 1st half and the deficit was too large for the Badgers to overcome.
All 5 starters scored in double figures for Michigan State and were led by Adreian Payne with 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting from the field. Michigan State shot the lights out at 56.9% from the field and 53.8% from 3- point territory and that was basically the difference in the ball game; this isn’t a team that’s going to beat themselves with mistakes.
Even though Payne only played 17 minutes due to 4 fouls, he’s such a good ball player that the production was still there. Look for Payne along with senior Keith Appling and leading scorer, Gary Harris (17.2 points per game), to lead the way for this well coached team and this game should be a dogfight as Michigan State always wins the big games.
A Repeat of Last Season?
The Wolverines made it far last season, but there’s no Trey Burke or Tim Hardaway Jr. and Mitch McGary is out of action. Michigan is still a gamed team. They’re coming off of a 72-69 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes in the conference semifinals. Michigan wasn’t much of a better team than OSU, but they won the battle at the 3 point-line, doubling Ohio State’s total.
Michigan’s bench is a major weakness and that could have an effect against Michigan State. The Wolverines only got 8 points from its bench players and that puts and extra burden on the starters.
Nik Stauskas is the go to player from an offensive perspective and game in, game out scoring. He hasn’t scored less than 18 points in his last 5 games. Stauskas will put up double figures in shots and nearly double figures in 3-point attempts.
Glenn Robinson III and Caris Levert are the 2nd and 3rd options on this team. Levert has been very reliable offensively as he’s shot over 50% from the field in each of his last 4 games. This trio will be tested against the experience of Michigan State. Stauskas will get his points, but Robinson III and Levert could be the “x-factors” in this game.
These two teams have met twice before this season with Michigan coming out on top both times.
Check out the top NCAAB Futures Betting Lines
I love the experience of Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament, but Michigan has had their number this season. Take the Wolverines and the points.
Pick- Michigan +3 at Bet