Big Ten Tournament Semifinal Picks: Michigan State vs. Penn State

Big Ten Tournament Semifinals
#7 Michigan State Spartans vs. #6 Penn State Nittany Lions, Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Saturday, March 12, 2011, 4:05 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Michigan State -2.5
Current Line: Michigan State -3.5
Opening Total: 123
Current Total: 122
Money Line: Michigan State -165 / Penn State +145

Michigan State Penn State Big Ten Tournament Preview
Michigan State's Kalin Lucas scored a career-high 30 points in Friday's win over Purdue.

The seventh-seeded Michigan State Spartans (19-13) might have been on the bubble for the NCAA tournament before the Big Ten Conference tournament started, but consecutive wins over the last two days should give them the opportunity to get to the Final Four for the third year in a row.  Meanwhile, the sixth-seeded Penn State Nittany Lions (18-13) still might have some work to do despite knocking out #3 Wisconsin 36-33 in Friday’s quarterfinal action.

The Nittany Lions can all but guarantee an invitation to the Big Dance with an appearance in the championship game after another victory against the Spartans (-3.5) on Saturday in the Big Ten semifinals.  Michigan State likely punched its ticket to the NCAA tournament after beating #2 Purdue for the first time in three meetings this year.  The Spartans had lost the previous two games against the Boilermakers by a combined 30 points but won the third in a 74-56 rout.

Michigan State controlled the latest meeting with Purdue from the start and led 37-23 at halftime behind 18 points from Kalin Lucas, who ended up with a career-high 30 despite playing on a sprained ankle he suffered in a 66-61 win over Iowa on Thursday.  Lucas made 7 of 10 shots he took in the first half, including all four of his 3-point attempts.

The total for Lucas was almost as many points as Penn State scored against the Badgers in a very ugly victory.  The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 14-0 lead and led by as many as 16 before Wisconsin clawed its way back to within striking distance by halftime at 20-16.  Two Badgers totaled 26 of their 33 points and were the only two players to score in double figures in the game.

Just how bad of an offensive game was it?  Neither team made more than a third of its shots from the field, and they combined to miss 28 of 33 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc.  Penn State’s Taylor Battle became the school’s all-time leading scorer even though he missed 15 of 18 shots he took from the floor, including 7 of 9 from 3-point range.  Battle did sink what turned out to be the game-winning shot, connecting on a 3-pointer that gave his team a 35-30 lead with 2:22 remaining.

The Nittany Lions split two meetings with the Spartans during the regular season, as each team won and covered the spread on their home court.  Michigan State has won five of the last seven meetings straight-up, going 3-3-1 against the spread in those games.  The OVER has cashed in seven of the last nine meetings.

If you are betting this Big Ten tournament basketball game between Michigan State & Penn State, be sure to check out the winning basketball picks packages we offer.  You can also get free winners on our free NCAA basketball picks page.

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