(11-9, 8-7 ATS)
Michigan State Spartans
(12-7, 6-12 ATS)
It wasn’t all that long ago that both the Michigan State Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines felt great about their chances of doing well in the NCAA Tournament. Now, both aren’t all that sure that they’ll be dancing at all. The two will meet in college basketball wagering warfare on Thursday night in East Lansing.
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The Wolverines are probably on life support right now, as they likely need to end up winning a solid seven or eight games in a row before they can feel great about being back in the discussion about any postseason tournament not named the NIT. Since beating the Penn State Nittany Lions on January 2nd, Michigan has lost six straight games, and it has failed to cover three in a row to boot. Now, it embarks upon arguably the toughest stretch of the season, as three of its next four are on the road, including a trip to the No. 1 team in the country, the Ohio State Buckeyes, on February 3rd. Darius Morris is probably wanting to sue right now for a lack of support. Sure, he is putting up his 15.5 points per game this year, but he is forced to take some shots at times, especially from beyond the arc, that he isn’t comfortable taking because his teammates just aren’t helping him out all that much. Tim Hardaway Jr. did put up 20 on Saturday, but he is only averaging 11.5 points per game, and there are only four other players that are averaging even 4.0 points per night to boot.
It’s really hard to think that the Spartans haven’t won a game since January 15th and haven’t won a game in regulation since January 3rd. The last two home games provided some major late escapes against the Northwestern Wildcats and the Wisconsin Badgers, and now, those problems have to be erased in a hurry if they hope to get back in the win column against a significantly easier stretch of schedule. These next three should all provide double digit victories if Michigan State has dreams of going dancing this year, and any trip will be a huge eye sore in the eyes on the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. Korie Lucious came out and said that Saturday’s loss to the Purdue Boilermakers was a must-win game for Michigan State. He didn’t do his job, scoring just six points off of the bench, and the game was lost without much of a fight. Kalin Lucas was also held to just nine points, while the only man that truly excelled was Draymond Green. Green is averaging 13.2 points, 8.8 boards, and 4.0 assists this year, and he has really been the only man carrying this team for the last several weeks. He’ll need to step up once again to have a chance to bust the Wolverines.
We keep going to the well with the Spartans, and we’re going back again on Thursday. There is a nice, long layoff to prepare for this game, and this is a welcome breather on a slate that has otherwise been vicious. Head Coach Tom Izzo should have his club more focused, and it should result in a comfortable win over Big Blue.
College Basketball Free Pick: Michigan State Spartans