Spread: Iowa -5 , Total: 152.5
February 13th, 2021. 1:30 PM Breslin Center, East Lansing, Michigan
This game matches up two teams who spent some time in the top 5 in the country at times this year but who have experienced recent struggles. Both Iowa and Michigan State battle to regain their footing in the race for postseason positioning.
Michigan State Spartans (10-7,4-7)
It has been quite the rollercoaster season for Michigan State as they started the year with a lot of questions about replacing their two best players. The Spartans responded by flying out of the gate with 6 straight wins to open the season including a strong upset at the time over Duke at Cameron Indoor which shot Sparty to as high as 4th in the country, the the Big 10 conference slate started and things began to unwind for MSU starting with a stunning upset loss at Northwestern which led to an 0-3 start in conference play. Spartans have been up and down since then with three COVID postponements through in the middle of this stretch. Most recently, MSU has won two in a row over Nebraska and Penn State. They try to avenge their last loss which was at Iowa just shy of 2 weeks ago.
Iowa Hawkeyes (14-6,8-5)
Iowa is on a bit of a slide as of late as they have now lost 4 of their last 6 games. Most recently they did pick up a 13 point win over Rutgers on Wednesday. Before that game their last win was over Michigan State in Iowa City. In that one Iowa shot an impressive 50% from the field but they really struggled shooting the long ball and free throws. The Hawkeyes shot 29% from deep and missed 12 free throws. Garza definitely carried the load in that one, finishing with a double double 27 points and 12 rebounds. When most people think about Iowa and they would be right. Ken Pom has Iowa ranked best in the country in offensive efficiency. What has always been Iowa’s Achilles heel this year has been their defense. To put it into perspective, Ken Pom has Iowa rated 5th overall best team in the country. The rest of the top 5 teams are no worse than 14th in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Iowa is ranked 120th in the country in defensive efficiency. Iowa will need to improve upon that if they want to live up to their lofty expectations this season.
Right now Michigan State is fighting for their postseason lives and this would be a perfect game to win as a resume booster at home when Iowa has been relatively struggling as of late. In fact, Iowa is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games. Their last game against each other was a 6 point contest at Iowa so I do think Michigan State should keep it closer than that which makes MSU +5 look pretty good however, the numbers make me a little worried. Sparty is 2-8 ATS at home this year. For that reason I’m gonna take a little extra insurance and make it a teaser with the under. A stat I love to back this up with is that Michigan State has gone under in 6 of their last 7 games. Even Iowa, who most people see offense + bad defense is a great over combo, has gone under in 4 out of their last 6 games. I do think that MSU +5 and the under are good individual bets and I even like a little action on MSU +180 ML, but for my best bet I will go with the safest play. Take Michigan State teased to +10 with under 157.5 for 1 unit.
Matthew’s college basketball record 20/21: 7-4
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