The Michigan State Spartans (14-10, 8-10 Big Ten) take on in-state rival the #2 Michigan Wolverines (18-2, 13-2 Big Ten) on Thursday night in game one of back-to-back games between the two schools. These teams will face each other again on Sunday to close out the regular season. Thursday’s contest tips off at 7 p.m. EST inside the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, MI. Michigan is a 12-point favorite over their in-state rival, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – Michigan State Spartans
After starting the conference slate with a 2-7 record, the Spartans have turned things around in the latter half of the season, punctuated with four wins in their last five games. According to most bracket predictions, MSU is a bubble team, so an upset victory over the Wolverines would increase the odds of Sparty making the Big Dance for the 23rd consecutive season.
Offensively, the Spartans score 70.3 points per game while shooting 42.6% from the field and 32.7% from the beyond the arc. On the defensive end of the floor, Michigan holds opponents to 71.0 points per game, behind 42.4% shooting from the floor and 31.1% from three.
The Spartans took down the Indiana Hoosiers at home Tuesday night, 64-58, behind a 22-point effort from junior forward Aaron Henry. Henry shot 50% (8-of-16) from the floor and added eight rebounds and five assists. MSU shot only 23.5% (4-of-17) from deep but held the Hoosiers to 10% (2-of-20) from beyond the arc.
MSU is 8-16 against the spread this season, but 4-1 over their last five games. The Spartans are 4-1 ATS in their previous five matchups versus Michigan and 3-7 away from East Lansing.
What to Know – Michigan Wolverines
Michigan is one of the country’s top teams and a potential top seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The Wolverines, who finished last season with a 19-12 record before the shutdown, have just a pair of losses on their resume this season. Michigan is tied with Illinois atop the conference standings.
The Wolverines average 77.6 points per game and shoot 49.1% from the floor and 38.8% from deep. Michigan’s defense holds teams to 65.8 points per game, 38.8% shooting from the field, and 33.2% from three-point range.
Illinois came into Ann Arbor and put a beatdown on the Wolverines Tuesday night, dropping the host 76-53. The Illini held Michigan to their lowest scoring output of the season and outrebounded Michigan, 42-26. Senior guard Eli Brooks was the only Wolverine to score in double-figures with 11 points.
The Wolverines are 15-5 ATS this year, including 7-3 over their last ten. Michigan is 11-4 ATS against conference foes and 9-4 in games played on their home floor.
The Pick is In
Michigan will need to regroup and forget quickly the loss Tuesday night to Illinois. MSU will give the Wolverines all they got, as a win improves their chances of an NCAA Tournament bid. If this game were played earlier in the year, Michigan would be our pick, but with the recent play of Michigan State, give us the Spartans and the points.
The Pick: Michigan State +12