Northeastern Huskies vs Michigan State Spartans - NCAAB Picks Of The Day 12/18

Joe Catalano

Sunday, December 18, 2016 5:56 PM UTC

Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 5:56 PM UTC

Although they always possess one of the toughest schedules in America, the Michigan State Spartans and head coach Tom Izzo aren't used to being out of the AP Top 25. A victory over Northeastern tonight won't crack the rankings, but every win counts in the road to March.

Northeastern Huskies (5-5) vs Michigan State Spartans (7-4) Strength of Schedule

Every season, the Spartans schedule the toughest opponents in the beginning of the season and this year is no different as they lost to Arizona and Kentucky in their first two games of the season and then Baylor and Duke later on.

The only issue with the Spartans being a ranked team is that they didn't win any of those 4 games and that's what's keeping them out of the top 25. Tonight, is just a warmup as they're a 10 point betting favorite and it certainly would be more if they were to have beaten one of those opponents in their 4 losses. Point being, Michigan State is a good deal at these odds.

Leading scorer, freshman Miles Bridges has been out of the lineup with an ankle injury and the Spartans have still managed to win. Eron Harris (13.5 points, 3.7 rebounds) and Nick Ward (11.9 points and 6.1 rebounds) are there to pick up the slack as the offense has to come from somewhere.

As for Ward, he's made every minute of playing time count as he's averaged just 16.6 minutes of playing time per game. Ward's presence is needed in this lineup as the freshman possesses great size and can play outstanding defense as this game doesn't expect to be a high scoring. Nick Ward will need to look for his offense a bit more as his 61.9% shooting from the field has been a major positive where the Spartans offense is concerned.

As for Eron Harris, he's coming off of a 20 point effort in which he drained 5 - 3 pointers in a victory over Tennessee Tech. Expect Harris to come into this game with confidence and looking to play the lead role.

Stopping T.J. Williams

I know that the Huskies don't play the same level of opposition that Michigan State does, but senior guard T.J. Williams is having a breakout season in his last year as a collegiate player.

This was a player that never averaged over 9.6 points per game in his first three seasons. This year, he's averaging 21 points, 6 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game. Williams is an accurate shooter, shooting over 50% from the field and play's top-notch defense. He could present a problem for the Spartans.

While Williams is definitely something to think about, the number is low enough that I'm picking the Spartans in a game that they should win easily.

Free NCAAB Pick: Michigan State Spartans -10 1/2Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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