Big Ten College Basketball Picks: #24 Iowa Hawkeyes at #22 Michigan State Spartans

#24 Iowa Hawkeyes at #22 Michigan State Spartans
Jack Breslin Student Events Center – East Lansing, Michigan

Thursday, March 6, 2014, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Michigan State -4
Current Line: Michigan State -4 1/2
Opening Total: 148 1/2
Current Total: 148 1/2
Opening Money Line: Michigan State -170 / Iowa +145
Current Money Line: Michigan state -200 / Iowa +170 

Michigan State is a 4.5 point favorite against Iowa in a battle of struggling Big Ten teams.

Michigan State is a 4.5 point favorite against Iowa in a battle of struggling Big Ten teams.

Both the 22-7 Michigan State Spartans and 20-9 Iowa Hawkeyes appear to be safely in the NCAA tournament. However, both teams have struggled recently and both badly need a win to regain momentum before next week’s Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis. The two teams meet Thursday night in East Lansing. Michigan State is in third place in the Big Ten at 11-5 behind 14-3 Michigan and 12-5 Wisconsin. Michigan has already clinched the regular season title and the #1 seed in the Big Ten tournament. Iowa is 9-7 and in fifth place behind 10-7 Nebraska. The top four teams will get first round byes in the Big Ten tournament.

Michigan State leads the series against Iowa 69-53 including 42-17 in East Lansing. The Spartans have won 12 of the last 13 games in the series including 7 straight. The Spartans have also beaten the Hawkeyes 17 straight times in the Breslin Center. Michigan State won the first meeting this season 71-69 in overtime in Iowa City January 28. Both teams were ranked in the top 15 nationally at the time.

Iowa is coached by Fran McCaffery. The Hawkeyes have losses to Villanova in the Championship game of a tournament in the Bahamas, at Iowa State, Wisconsin twice, at Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, at Minnesota, and at Indiana. Iowa has key wins over Pennsylvania, Xavier and UTEP both in the Bahamas, Notre Dame, Drake in Des Moines, Nebraska, Northwestern twice, at Ohio State, Minnesota, at Illinois, Michigan, at Penn State and Sunday against Purdue 83-76. The Purdue win snapped a 3 game losing streak for the Hawkeyes. Iowa is 15-12 ATS and the total is 19-7 this season.

Iowa is outscoring teams 84-70 this season. The Hawkeyes are #5 nationally in scoring. Iowa is shooting 47.1% from the field and 35.9% from 3 point range. Iowa is #47 nationally in field goal percentage. The Hawkeyes make 72.8% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 40.5% from the field and 30.5% from 3 point range. The Hawkeyes are 44th or better nationally in both categories. Iowa is sixth nationally in rebounding at 41.8 per game and opponents are averaging 29.9. The Hawkeyes average 16.3 assists, 11.6 turnovers, 7.2 steals and 5.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.6 assists, 13.4 turnovers, 6.4 steals, and 3.3 blocks per game.

Guard Roy Devyn Marble averages 17.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. Forward Aaron White averages 13.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists. Guard Mike Gesell averages 8.2 points, 2.1 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.  Forward Jarrod Uthoff  averages 7.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. Forward Melsahn Basabe averages 7.8 points and 6 rebounds per game. Forward Zach McCabe averages 6 points, 3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. Guard Peter Jok averages 4.3 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. Gabriel Olaseni, Adam Woodbury, Josh Oglesby, and Anthony Clemmons will also get significant time in the rotation.

Michigan State is coached by Tom Izzo. The Spartans have losses to North Carolina Michigan twice, Georgetown in New York City, at Wisconsin, Nebraska and Illinois 53-46 Saturday. Michigan State started off 18-1, but has gone 4-6 in the last 10 games, including 2 straight losses. Michigan State  has key wins over Kentucky in Chicago, Columbia, Portland, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma in a tournament in Brooklyn, Oakland in Auburn Hills, at Texas, Penn State twice, Indiana twice, Ohio State, Minnesota, Northwestern twice, at Illinois, at Iowa and at Purdue. Michigan State is 15-11-2 ATS and the total is 14-14 this season.

Michigan State is outscoring teams 76-65 this season. The Spartans are #56 in scoring and #58 in points allowed nationally. MSU is shooting 47% from the field and 38.6% from 3 point range. The Spartans are #49 or better nationally in both categories. Michigan State makes 68.8% of their free throws. Spartan opponents are shooting 39.7% from the field and 33.1% from 3 point range. Michigan State is #26 in opponents’ field goal percentage nationally. The Spartans average 37.7 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.6 per game. MSU is #52 in rebounding nationally. The Spartans average 17.2 assists, 11.1 turnovers, 7.4 steals and 4.8 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.6 assists, 13 turnovers, 5.3 steals and 3.3 blocks per game.

Guard Gary Harris averages 17.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2.0 steals per game. Center Adreian Payne averages 15.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. Guard Keith Appling averages 13.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Guard Branden Dawson averages 10 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. He returned against Illinois after missing 10 games with a broken hand  Guard Denzel Valentine averages 8.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.1 steal per game. Guard Travis Trice averages 6.9 points, 1.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1 steal per game. Kenny Kaminski and Matt Costello will also get significant minutes in the rotation. Costello leads the team in blocks at 1.4 per game.

Iowa is 10-4 ATS after failing to cover, 27-11 after a straight up win, 7-3 in road games and against teams with winning records, 0-4 against teams with winning records, overall and against Big Ten teams. The road team is 9-4 ATS in this series recently.

Michigan State is 5-0 ATS in Thursday games, 4-1 after a straight up loss, and 5-2 after failing to cover. The over is 11-4 in the last 15 in East Lansing in this series. The Spartans are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 against the Hawkeyes.

Neither one of these teams has been that impressive recently, but Michgan State has been plagued by injuries.they are finally getting healthy, and I think they can make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. I think the Spartans win a close game at home.

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Posted by on Mar 6 2014. Filed under College Basketball, Headlines. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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