College Basketball: Michigan State Spartans vs Syracuse Orangemen Jimmy V Classic Picks

Michigan State Spartans vs Syracuse Orangemen
Tuesday, 12/7/10, 9:00 PM EDT, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Michigan State -1.5
Current Betting Line:  Michigan State -2
Opening Total:  135
Current Total:  137.5

Michigan State's Kalin Lucas was held scoreless in the Spartans last game and is fatigued in the early going

Michigan State faces Syracuse in the program’s third appearance in the Jimmy V Classic.  The Spartans will be facing their third ranked opponent of the year, beating Washington 76-71 in the Maui Classic before dropping an 84-79 decision to Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.  “I might be the dumbest scheduler in America,” said coach Tom Izzo.  “My team is tired.”  One of his main concerns will be the health of guard Kalin Lucas, who was held without a point for the second time in his career Saturday, taking one shot in 15 minutes.  He is averaging 14.9 points a game and is still recovering from a torn achilles tendon he suffered last season.  “The poor guy, he’s drained,” said Izzo.  The team does have depth on its side, with 10 different players averaging 7.4 minutes or more this season.  Michigan State is 2-1 ATS against Big East opponents the last three years and is currently a small favorite on the NCAA basketball lines page.

The Spartans are shooting a Big Ten-best 43.1 percent from 3-point range this season, which would shatter the 40.1 mark the team shot under Izzo in 2003-04.  Michigan State ranks second in the conference with 8.25 3-pointers per game, after finishing last in the conference last season (5.1).  In the 16 previous meetings between these two storied programs, the Spartans trail 7-9, which includes an even 1-1 mark in neutral site games.   Michigan State suffered a 96-83 defeat in the last meeting on January 3, 2004.

Syracuse has used the same starting lineup in all eight games this season and are 2-0 on a neutral court, defeating Michigan and Georgia Tech in Atlantic City in the Legends Classic.  Coach Jim Boeheim is certainly not all smiles on the bench despite his team’s perfect 8-0 record, as he’s been concerned with his offense from the opening game.  “The main problem is our offense,” he commented.  “We’ve got to find a way to make some of those.  ‘We’d have two or three losses if we were playing average defense.”  The Orange are scoring 69.9 points a game while allowing just 58.9, giving the team a double-digit scoring margin of +11 points a contest.  Syracuse is 2-6 ATS on the year and 10-7 ATS as an underdog over the past three seasons.

The Orange led the nation in field-goal percentage at 51.6 last season, but the offense has managed to shoot under 40 percent in three games and 43 percent overall thus far.  “We are not going to make a lot of them, but we have to make some of them,” Boeheim commented on the team’s three-point shooting.  Syracuse normally doesn’t have a challenging schedule before Big East play, but this year has been different, which may be having an effect on the dismal shooting numbers early on.

Bettors will be interested in knowing that the Spartans are 4-1 ATS versus the Big East, while the Orange are 10-1 ATS on Tuesday.

The college basketball handicappers at Maddux Sports are on fire and can’t wait for you to join them on Tuesday night!

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