(12-3, 7-4 ATS)
Michigan State Spartans
(10-5, 6-8 ATS)
Big Ten play continues on Tuesday night from East Lansing, as the Michigan State Spartans continue to look to right the ship against a Wisconsin Badgers team that is looking to cement its place in the Top 25 in the country once and for all in this 2011 NCAA basketball betting campaign.
Every time Wisconsin takes one step forward, it seems to take a step backwards as well. Though it has two wins this year against Big Ten foes, that loss against the Illinois Fighting Illini sticks out like a sore thumb. The good news is that there will be plenty of confidence about winning on the road, something that the Badgers nearly pulled off last season. Wisky might have only scored 47 points in that game, but the defensive effort really did a tremendous number for the confidence of this squad for the rest of the year. Jon Leuer scored 21 on that night, but he got very little help from his friends. We’re really in a similar spot this year as well, as he is putting together 19.3 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game. Jordan Taylor is doing his job, averaging 16.4 points per game, but again, there is no other player on this team averaging double digits in scoring and only one more that is putting up even six points per game. Wisconsin knows that it is going to have to continue to ratchet up the defense again in this one if it hopes to pull off the NCAA basketball upset of the day on Tuesday.
Something is very, very wrong with Head Coach Tom Izzo’s team, and we still can’t quite put our finger on what it is. Sure, we know that this team is headed towards March Madness, and we know when it gets there that this is going to be one of the toughest teams to oust from the field whether it is a No. 1 or a No. 6. Still, there’s something about a team that has already lost a game this year in conference against the Penn State Nittany Lions and had to just barely hang on to beat the Northwestern Wildcats that scares us. Michigan State hasn’t gotten the production this year from men like Delvon Roe and Korie Lucious that we expected, which is really leaving Durrell Summers and Kalin Lucas out to dry. Even Lucas, at 14.3 points per game, is behind the clip that we were anticipating him to be at this yards. Summers was supposed to be able to do everything for this team, but instead, he only has nine assists for 4.7 boards per game, though he is the team’s top scorer at 15.6 points per game.
If the Badgers are catching more than about six points in this game, as we are fully expecting, this could be a very interesting spot. Wisconsin plays strong, frustrating defense, and asking the Spartans, who have already lost a home game recently to the Texas Longhorns, to beat this type of a pressure ‘D’ against another very experienced team is going to be tough. Don’t be shocked if the visitors make the East Lansing faithful sweat quite a bit on Tuesday night.
NCAA Basketball Free Pick: Wisconsin Badgers