A pair of contenders in the Big Ten Conference go toe-to-toe Friday night when the Illinois Fighting Illini (11-5, 2-3 Big Ten) host the Michigan State Spartans (12-4, 4-1 Big Ten). MSU owns the all-time series, 64-62, but the Illini have won the last two matchups.
The conference clash tips off at 9 p.m. EST inside the State Farm Center in Champaign, Illinois. The Fighting Illini are a five-point favorite, and the over/under total is 136.5 points.
What to Know – Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans roll into Champaign riding a seven-game winning streak, including three-straight conference victories. Michigan State is tied with the Purdue Boilermakers atop the rugged Big Ten standings.
On offense, the Spartans score 70.3 points per game, shooting 44.6% from the floor and 37.8% from deep. MSU’s defense limits opponents to 64.9 points per game, 40.1% shooting from the field, and 29.8% from the 3-point line.
MSU deploys a balanced scoring attack with four players averaging 10.9 points or more per game. Tyson Walker leads the team, scoring 13.9 ppg, and Joey Hauser is right behind him, adding 13.8 ppg. A.J. Hoggard is next, chipping in 12.0 ppg, and Malik Hall rounds out the leading scorers tallying 10.9 ppg.
Michigan State is 9-7 against the spread and an even 2-2 ATS in road contests. The Spartans are 6-1 ATS over their previous seven games but just 2-8 ATS in their last ten away from home.
What to Know – Illinois Fighting Illini
Illinois began conference losing its first three but have figured things out and won two in a row. The Fighting Illini currently sit in the bottom half of the conference standings.
The Illini offense pours in 76.9 points per game thanks to 46.1% shooting from the field and 33.2% from beyond the arc. Defensively, Illinois surrenders 63.8 ppg, holding teams to 39.1% shooting from the floor and 32.4% from three.
Texas Tech transfer Terrance Shannon Jr. paces the Illini in scoring averaging 18.1 points per game. Coleman Hawkins and Matthew Mayer follow up Shannon Jr. adding 10.1 ppg a piece.
The Fighting Illini are also 9-7 ATS this season with a 6-3 record ATS at home. Illinois is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games playing at home on a Friday.
The Pick is In
The marquee matchup of Friday’s college basketball slate, all eyes will be on these two teams taking the floor in Champaign. Michigan State hasn’t lost since the beginning of December but has only two wins away from East Lansing over its seven-game winning streak.
The Fighting Illini have found their rhythm over the last week and are always a tough team to matchup against at home. While the Spartans don’t have a lot of experience on the road, you can always guarantee the Spartans will be well-prepared and well-coached. We will take MSU and the points in this one.
The Pick: Michigan State Spartans +5