Northwestern Wildcats vs. Michigan St. Spartans
The Northwestern Wildcats look to end the Michigan State Spartans winning streak when they meet on Saturday in Evanston. The Spartans are -4.5 point favorites over the Wildcats with an over/under point total set at 136.5.
The Northwestern Wildcats have lost their last two games by a combined three points and while Bill Carmody’s team is thinking NCAA Tournament, they will need to get on the right side of the scoreboard of those close games as they might make the difference. Northwestern is 7-2 at home but just 1-3 in conference play and 1-4 against teams ranked in the top 25. John Shurna is averaging 18.9 points and 6.1 rebounds, Drew Crawford is averaging 17.4 points and 5.1 rebounds, and Dave Soblewski is averaging 8.4 points. As a team Northwestern is averaging 70.5 points and they are shooting 45.1 percent while defensively they are allowing 65.6 points and their opponents are shooting 42.5 percent. The Wildcats are tied for eighth place in the conference but a win here would be a huge boost both on the resume and to their confidence.
There is no hotter team in the nation than Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans as they have won 15 games in a row and are in first place in the Big Ten. MSU started the season with back to back losses but since then it’s been nothing but wins going 4-0 on the road and 2-0 against the top 25. Draymond Green is averaging 15.9 points and 9.7 rebounds, Keith Appling is averaging 12.6 points, and Brandon Wood is averaging 10.1 points. As a team Michigan State is averaging 76.8 points, 16.8 assists, 40.8 offensive rebounds, and they are shooting 47.9 percent while defensively they are allowing 59.6 points and their opponents shoot 37.3 percent. Michigan State may have looked shaky earlier this year but at this point they are just a very tough out.
Northwestern is 5-2 against the spread in their last seven Big Ten games, 1-5 against the spread in their last six home games, and 2-5 against the spread against a team with a winning record. Michigan State is 5-0 against the spread in their last five road games, 4-0 against the spread against the Big Ten, and 5-2 against the spread following a cover. The road team is 16-5 against the spread in the last 21 meetings of these two.
The total in this one is set at 136.5 and in a nutshell: Way Too Low. My pick here is on the over.