Date/Time: February 20 at 7:00 pm EST
College Basketball Betting Favorite: Michigan State -5
The Michigan State Spartans have had a multitude of injury problems, but they are still at the top of a very competitive Big Ten Conference. Michigan State did get upset in East Lansing by Nebraska in their last game, and they will be looking for a bounce back win here. Purdue is down a bit this year, but the Boilermakers are always tough in West Lafayette.
The Michigan State Spartans are tied atop the Big Ten with a 10-3 record in the league. Their home loss to Nebraska definitely hurt, but the Spartans still control their own destiny with a trip to Ann Arbor to take on the Wolverines looming for this coming weekend. Michigan State has been badly banged up all year long. The Spartans will still be without Branden Dawsen in this one, but point guard Keith Appling is expected to return from his injury. Adreian Payne missed a lot of time earlier this year, but he is back in the lineup now.
Gary Harris is the star for this team, and he needs to be big for this team over the stretch run. He leads the team in scoring at 17.4 points per game. Payne’s versatility is huge for this team, and his injuries this year have really held the team back. Now that he is healthy, the Spartans need him to be that inside/outside stretch four that is a tough matchup for everyone on their schedule. Michigan State has been great defensively this year, but their offense has gotten stagnant at times in their losses.
Purdue is 15-10 on the season, and they are just 5-7 in the Big Ten. They have home wins over Nebraska, Minnesota, and Indiana already this season. The Boilermakers are really struggling on the offensive end. Purdue is shooting just 42.9 percent from the floor as a team so far this year. Terone Johnson and Ronnie Johnson are the team’s leading scorers, but both of them are shooting less than 43% from the floor. A.J. Hammons is only a sophomore, but he has shown signs of breaking out at times this year. The Boilermakers are a much better team when Hammons is effective inside.
Matt Painter’s Purdue teams always play very good defense, and this team is no different. Opponents are shooting just 41.3% from the floor against the Boilermakers. The ‘under’ is 12-9 in Purdue’s 21 lined games this year, and that is largely because of their strong defense and inefficiency on the offensive end.
Free Pick: Michigan State -5
Michigan State soundly beat Purdue in both meetings last year, and I think the same thing happens here. This Spartans team is going to be in a bad mood, and that’s bad news for Purdue. The Boilermakers don’t have the amount of talent that the Spartans do. Look for Michigan State to play well and cover.
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