2014 Big Ten Tournament – Championship Game
Banker’s Life Fieldhouse – Indianapolis, Indiana
#3 Michigan State Spartans vs #1 Michigan Wolverines
Sunday, March 16, 2014, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Michigan State -2 1/2
Current Line: Michigan State -3 1/2
Opening Total: 138
Current Total: 139 1/2
Opening Money Line: Michigan State -160 / Michigan +135
Current Money Line: Michigan State -175 / Michigan +150
The 25-8 Michigan State Spartans and 25-7 Michigan Wolverines meet for the first time ever in the Big Ten tournament in Sunday’s championship game. For the Wolverines, a win would not only give them the tournament championship but could also secure a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Teams like Duke, Virginia, Louisville and Villanova are also in the discussion for the last #1 seed as well. The Wolverines won the Big Ten regulsr season title outright with a 15-3 record. Michigan beat #9 seed Illinois 64-63 in the quarterfinals Friday and then beat #5 seed Ohio State 72-69 in the semifinals yesterday.
Michigan State tied for second in conference with a 12-6 record with Wisconsin. The Spartans are the #3 seed because of the tie-breaker. The Spartans have battled injuries to key players all season, but when healthy are one of the best teams in the country. Still, they should be around a 3 or 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, because they have so many losses. The Spartans beat #11 seed Northwestern 67-51 in the quarterfinals and then upset #2 seed Wisconsin 83-75 in the semifinals.
Michigan leads the series against Michigan State 97-76. The Wolverines have won 3 straight games against the Spartans, including both meetings this season. Michigan won 80-75 in East Lansing January 25 and 79-70 in Ann Arbor February 22.
Michigan State is coached by Tom Izzo. The Spartans have losses to North Carolina Michigan twice, Georgetown in New York City, at Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois and at Ohio State. Michigan State started off 18-1, but has gone 7-7 in the last 10 games. 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, Iowa twice and at Purdue. Michigan State is 19-11-2 ATS and the total is 17-15 this season.
Michigan State is outscoring teams 76-66 this season. The Spartans are #55 in scoring and #65 in points allowed nationally. MSU is shooting 47.4% from the field and 39.8% from 3 point range. The Spartans are #31 in field goal percentage and #9 in 3 point shooting nationally. Michigan State makes 69% of their free throws. Spartan opponents are shooting 40.3% from the field and 33.5% from 3 point range. Michigan State is #35 in opponents’ field goal percentage nationally. The Spartans average 37.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 28.6 per game. 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 17.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. Center Adreian Payne averages 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. Guard Keith Appling averages 12.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Guard Branden Dawson averages 10.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. He missed 10 games with a broken hand and returned late in the regular season. Guard Denzel Valentine averages 8.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1 steal per game. Guard Travis Trice averages 7.4 points, 1.5 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 1.3 per game.
Michigan is coached by John Beilein. The Wolverines have losses at Iowa State, to Charlotte in a tournament in Puerto Rico, at Duke, at Arizona, at Indiana, at Iowa, and at home against Wisconsin. The Wolverines have key wins over Long Beach State and Florida State in Puerto Rico, Stanford in Brooklyn, Minnesota twice, Northwestern, Nebraska twice, Penn State, at Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan State twice, Purdue twice, at Ohio State, at Illinois and Indiana. Michigan has won 7 straight games. Michigan is 16-13-1 ATS and the total is 18-11-1 this season.
Michigan is outscoring teams 75-65 this season. The Wolverines are shooting 48.1% from the field and 39.8% from 3 point range. The Wolverines are #21 in field goal percentage and #8 in three point shooting. Michigan is #13 in free throw shooting at 75.7% from the line. Wolverine opponents are shooting. 44.3% from the field and 32.5% from 3 point range. Michigan averages 31.9 rebounds per game and allow 28.9 from opponents. Michigan is #302 out of 351 teams nationally in rebounding. The Wolverines average 13.8 assists, 9.7 turnovers, 4.5 steals and 2.2 block per game. Opponents average 11.6 assists, 10.1 turnovers, 5.2 steals and 2.5 blocks per game.
Guard Nik Stauskas averages 17.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Forward Glenn Robinson III averages 13.2 points, 4.4 points, 1.3 assists, and 1 steal per game. Guard Caris LeVert averages 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Forward Mitch McGary averages 9.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. He is out indefinitely with a back injury. Guard Derrick Walton, Jr. averages 8 points, 3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Zak Irvin, Jordan Morgan, Jon Horford, and Spike Albrecht will also get plenty of time in the rotation. Little used guard Cole McConnell is questionable with a foot injury.
Michigan State is 4-0 ATS overall and in Big Ten games, 3-1-2 in neutral site games, and 5-2 after a cover. The under is 8-3 in this series recently.
Michigan is 3-7 after a straight up win, 1-3-1 in neutral site games, and 1-5 after a cover.
While the Wolverines are red hot and swept the Spartans during the regular season, the Spartans were missing key pieces in both of those games. Michigan State is finally getting healthy as we are deep into March. The Wolverines need this win to secure a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, but I like the Spartans to win.