Tom Izzo’s squad is either exhausted or has momentum heading into the November 25th Connecticut at Michigan State matchup. The Spartans survived a 63-61 matchup with a tough Loyola Chicago team on Wednesday, but have no time to revel in the buzzer beater when they play #21 Connecticut on Thursday as the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament continues.
UConn didn’t exactly coast in their opener either though, outlasting Bruce Pearl’s Auburn squad 115-109 in 2 OT on Wednesday. Despite all the extra basketball, oddsmakers still have UConn as -2 point favorites for the Thanksgiving semifinal matchup with MSU.
Connecticut Needs to Sharpen Things Up
There was a lot to take away from the Huskies 2OT win on Wednesday. The first was that they shot the ball great, hitting 15 of 26 from three point range (58%) as well as 34-69 (49%) from the floor. On the down side though UConn committed 24 turnovers compared to 23 assists.
It’s no a huge surprise that the Huskies were a little sloppy, as Auburn was their first real test of the season after being favored by at least 29 points in each of their first four games of the season (4-0). This tournament in Paradise Island, Bahamas was also the first time the Huskies were traveling this year, playing all four of their games at home prior to the win over the Tigers.
Adama Sanogo led the way on Wednesday with 30 points on 12-25 shooting. That’s the third time Sanogo has gone for 20+ points in the Huskies’ first five games of the season so he’ll look to be a force in the November 25th Connecticut vs Michigan State matchup. Tyler Polley added 24 off the bench hitting 6 of 8 three-pointers, his best output of the season.
Michigan State Looks Good Here
It’s somewhat wild that the Spartans barely got past Loyola Chicago with a buzzer beater on Wednesday, yet they are the fresher team heading into Thursday’s matchup. MSU is up against a good Connecticut team that built up a 15 point lead in the second half over Auburn – but also one that blew that lead with sloppy play before getting the win in OT.
Izzo knew he was going to have a battle on his hands up against a Ramblers team coached by former Spartans graduate assistant Drew Valentine. The MSU defense didn’t let Loyola score until nearly 7 minutes into the game, but ultimately were down 28-23 at the half. The Spartans got 24 points from Malik Hall, but Marcus Bingham, Jr. was the only other MSU player in double figures (11) which makes you wonder if they can keep up in a potential shootout.
The Spartans have run their record to 4-1 on the season, and MSU has faced way more challenges than UConn this season with a 13 point loss to #3 Kansas to start the year and also beating Butler 73-52 as -3 point favorites. Could the quality of competition advantage give the Spartans the edge here?
November 25th Connecticut vs Michigan State Pick
This seems like a game that could go either way, especially with two respected coaches in Izzo and Dan Hurley. It looks like just over 70% of public bettors are on the Huskies, but there may also be a letdown after a 2OT game on Wednesday.
Michigan State 70 – Connecticut 65
Free Pick: Michigan State +2