The No. 13 Michigan State Spartans hit the road in Big Ten college basketball action today when they play the No. 20 Michigan Wolverines. The game is scheduled for a 12 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on CBS. Currently the odds for the game have Michigan as a small favorite at home in this one.
Michigan picked up a in in East Lansing earlier this season. In the days prior to that tipoff, Michigan State's Branden Dawson broke his hand while watching a film session and he wasn't able to go against the Wolverines. He won't take the floor in this one, either, as he continued to recover from that injury.
The Wolverines lost in their last game, which came a week ago, at the hands of Wisconsin. The Badgers got out to an early advantage and never looked back. Michigan cut their deficit to five points at one point in the second half but never were able to get closer. Michigan State dominated their last game, connecting for 13 3-pointers in the first half of a win at Purdue.
Both the Spartans and Wolverines sit atop the Big Ten standings. A victory here today by either team would put them in first place by themselves. If Michigan gets a win, it will certainly help put the conference title in their reach. Only two teams have won inside the Crisler Center this season other than the Maize and Blue — No. 1 Arizona and Wisconsin last week. The Wolverines have not lost consecutive home games since January 2011.
In the Michigan/Michigan State game back in January, Michigan freshman point guard Derrick Walton Jr., came into his own with arguably his best game of the season. Today he'll match up with Keith Appling again. The Spartans are going to need big games from Gary Harris and Adreian Payne in this one. Wisconsin was able to beat up on Michigan inside with Frank Kaminsky, who dominated the game. But, it's worth noting that John Beilein and his team probably worked all week on the mistakes they made against the Badgers.
Nik Stauskus played well in the first meeting, connecting for 19 points. Harris tossed in 27 for the Spartans in the loss. Walton had 19 points as well for Michigan while Caris LeVert, one of the unsung players in the conference, had 17 points.
Rebounding is going to be key, and Michigan State is annually one of the best teams in the country at rebounding. The Wolverines won the rebounding battle in the first game, which helped lead to their win. The team that rebounds better today could very well win because of that statistic, too. We like Michigan to get it done at home. Glenn Robinson III is going to be the difference in this game. He had just nine points in the opener and when he plays well, Michigan wins.
Free Pick: Michigan 70, Michigan State 65
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