NCAA Basketball Spread: Michigan State -6
Winning at the Kohl Center in Madison is no easy task, but the Michigan State Spartans did in overtime earlier this year. Michigan State also picked up a massive road win this past Saturday at Ohio State. The Spartans return home to East Lansing to take on the always-tough Wisconsin Badgers Thursday evening. Last year’s between these two in East Lansing went into overtime, with the Spartans eventually coming out on top. Let’s take a closer look at this matchup.
Wisconsin has won seven of their last eight games after starting the season slowly. The Badgers are first in the nation in points allowed per game. Wisconsin gives up just 50.3 points per contest. This unit allows opponents to shoot just 26.7% from beyond the arc. Combine the Badgers suffocating half court defense and their great ability of controlling the tempo and you have a team that is very tough to beat.
Jordan Taylor got off to a slow start offensively, but he has scored in double figures in 21 of the Badgers last 22 games. Taylor averages four rebounds and four assists per game, and he rarely turns the ball over. Josh Gasser is the Badgers best long-range shooter. Gasser is shooting 47.5% from beyond the arc this season. Wisconsin doesn’t really have anyone who is a great low post scorer, but everyone on this team can step out and knock down the long-range jumper.
Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans really put themselves on the map with their domination of Ohio State this past Saturday in Columbus. The Spartans physical defense really took the Buckeyes out of their offense. Michigan State is fifth in the nation in field goal percentage defense. Opponents shoot just 37.5% from the floor against this team. Michigan State dominates the boards almost every game. This is a team that comes out and takes the fight to the opposition every time.
Draymond Green is the Spartans team leader. Green is a senior forward who averages 15 points and ten rebounds per game. He is a big man who can handle the ball when necessary, and he can also shoot it from outside. Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix have both improved a great deal at the center spot for Michigan State. They are both big bruisers who make life difficult for their opponents in the paint. Keith Appling, Branden Dawson, and Brandon Wood have all been playing solid minutes in the backcourt. Michigan State averages 73.2 points per game.
Wisconsin will fight to slow this game down, while Michigan State will likely look to get out in transition when they can. Look for the Spartans to get enough points in transition to push this over a very low total.
Free College Basketball Pick: Over 110
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