Big Ten Basketball Picks: Northwestern Wildcats at #10 Michigan State Spartans

Northwestern Wildcats at #10 Michigan State Spartans
Sunday, March 10, 2013, 6:00 pm Eastern, TV: Big Ten Network
Jack Breslin Events Center – East Lansing, Michigan
Opening Line: Michigan State -19 1/2
Current Line: Michigan State -18
Opening Total: 122
Current Total: 121 1/2
Opening Money Line: Michigan State -7750 / Northwestern +4250
Current Money Line: Michigan State -4625 / Northwestern +2875

Michigan State is a heavy favorite Sunday against Northwestern in the regular season finale for both teams.

Michigan State is a heavy favorite Sunday against Northwestern in the regular season finale for both teams.

It isn’t often that Michigan St fans root for the Maize and Blue of their rivals the Michigan Wolverines. However, that is the case today, as a Michigan win against Indiana  will open the doorfor both Michigan State and Ohio State to win at least a share of the Big Ten title. Indiana leads the conference with a 13-4 record, and the other three including Michigan are all 12-5. The 23-7 Michigan St Spartans host the 13-17 Northwestern Wildcats in the regular season finale for both teams. The Wildcats are 4-13 in conference ahead of only 2 win Penn St in the conference standings.

Michigan St leads the series 81-38 against Northwestern, including 46-8 in East Lansing. The Spartans have won 43 of the last 47 in the series, but Northwestern won the only meeting between the teams last year 81-74 in Evanston. This is the only scheduled meeting between teh teams this season, unless they meet in the Big Ten tournament next week.

Northwestern is coached by Bill Carmody. The Wildcats have losses to Maryland, Illinois-Chicago, Butler, Stanford, Michigan, at Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, at Nebraska, at Michigan, at Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, and at Purdue, Ohio St twice, and at home to Penn State last Thursday 66-59. The Wildcats have lost 7 straight games. Northwestern has key wins over TCU and Illinois St in a tournament in South Padre Island, Texas, at Baylor, Brown, at Penn St, at Illinois, Minnesota, and Purdue. The Wildcats are 13-14 ATS and and the total is 10-12-1 this season.

Northwestern is being outscored  63-61 this season. The Wildcats are #308 out of 347 teams nationally in scoring. The Wildcats are shooting 39.9% from the field and 34.5% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #315 in field goal shooting. Northwestern makes 68.4% of their free throws. The Wildcats average 31.4 rebounds per game and give up 34.8 per game. The Wildcats are #300 or worse in both categories. Northwestern opponents are shooting 42.7% from the field and 34.4% from 3 point range. The Wildcats average 15 assists, 6 steals, 3 blocks, and 11 turnovers.

Forward Jared Swopshire center Chier Ajou and guards JerShon Cobb, and Drew Crawford are all out for the season for the Wildcats. Ajou and Cobb are role players, but the other two are 2 of the top 6 scorers for the Wildcats. Guard Reggie Hearn averages 13.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Dave Sobelewski averages 10.2 points, 3.9 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and a steal. Tre Demps averages 7.4 points and 1.8 rebounds. Center Alex Olah averages 5.8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block per game. Kale Abrahamson, Alex Marcotullio, and Mike Turner also get significant minutes.

Michigan St is coached by Tom Izzo. The Spartans have losses to Connecticut in Germany, at Miami-(FL), at Minnesota, Indiana twice, and at Ohio St and Michigan. The Spartans beat Wisconsin Thursday 58-43 to snap a 3 game losing streak. Michigan St has other key wins over Kansas in Atlanta, Boise St, Oakland, at Bowling Green, Texas, Purdue twice , Nebraska twice, Ohio St, Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan, and road wins in conference at Iowa, Penn St, and Wisconsin. The Spartans are 12-13-2 ATS and the total is 12-14 this season.

Michigan St is outscoring teams 69-60 this season. The Spartans are #31 in points allowed nationally. Michigan St is shooting 46.4% from the field and 34.3% from 3 point range. The Spartans are #45 in field goal percentage. Michigan St makes 71.2% of their free throws. Michigan St averages 37.7 rebounds per game and gives up 27.7 per game. Michigan St is 45th or better in both categories. Spartan opponents are shooting 39.3% from the field and 31% from 3 point range. Michigan St averages 13 assists, 8 steals, 4 blocks, and 14 turnovers per game.

Guard Keith Appling averages 13.2 points, 3.8 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game. Guard Gary Harris averages 13.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Forward Branden Dawson averages 10.1 points, 6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.8 steals, and  1.1 blocks per game. Forward Adreian Payne averages 10.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. Forward Derrick Nix averages 9.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1 steal per game. Guard Travis Trice averages 5.1 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. Forward Kenny Kaminksi is out for the season with a  shoulder injury.

Northwestern is 1-4 ATS after a loss, in Sunday games, in road games, overall, against Big Ten teams, and against teams with winning home records. Northwestern is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 trips to East Lansing.  The road team is 9-1 ATS in this series recently.

Michigan St is 3-0-1 ATS after a cover, 5-1-2 after a win, 4-1-1 against teams with losing records, 5-2-1 overall, and in Big Ten games, and 10-4 against teams with losing road records. The over is 5-2 in this series recently.

Michigan St will likely know by tip-off if they have a shot at getting a share of the Big ten title. If Indiana wins then they clinch the title outright, and Michigan St will have nothing to play for except seeding in the Big ten tournament. But Indiana, Michigan, Ohio St, and Michigan St will be the top 4 seeds in the Big Ten tournament in some order. Just be careful if Indiana wins, because Izzo might rest some of his starters. I am not saying he will, but it is a possibility. I like Michigan St to win against a banged up Northwestern team just playing out teh string. However, 18 could be too many points.

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Posted by on Mar 10 2013. Filed under College Basketball, Headlines. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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