Game: Michigan State Spartans @ Iowa Hawkeyes
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Odds: Spartans +6.5, Hawkeyes -6.5
The month of February has been very good to the Iowa Hawkeyes. With a big upset win over Ohio State on Saturday, the Hawkeyes are now ranked No. 25 in the country. Iowa has won four of five in February and now has a Quad 1 win that should put them into the NCAA tourney if they do not win the Big Ten tournament next month.
February hasn’t been so good to Michigan State. The Spartans are just 2-4 during the month with losses to Penn State and Rutgers. MSU’s only win in its last five games was a 76-61 defeat of a mediocre Indiana. Head coach Tom Izzo’s team dropped a 79-74 defeat at the hands of Illinois on Saturday at home. With that loss, Michigan State fell out of the AP Top 25.
Beating the Hawkeyes, especially at home, will be no easy task. Iowa is one of the top-scoring teams in the nation. They rank No. 4 in scoring averaging 83.5 points per game. They are led by one of the Big Ten’s top players, Keegan Murray. The 6-foot-8-inch sophomore leads Iowa in scoring averaging 23.4 points per game. He’s also the team’s leading rebounder with 8.2 a game. Three others – Patrick McCaffery, Jordan Bohannon, and Kris Murray – average in double figures for the Hawkeyes.
Michigan State isn’t quite as prolific, but they can hang with Iowa. Like the Hawkeyes, the Spartans like to push the ball in transition. They rank 69th in average possession length and MSU shoots the ball very well from long range. The Spartans are ninth in the country in three-point field goal percentage. Iowa ranks ninth in average possession length and 47th in adjusted tempo. Tonight’s total of 153.5 is a reflection of how both teams like to run and score.
Where Iowa struggles is on defense. The Hawkeyes allow over 71 points per game, but the defense did come up big in the win over Ohio State. Iowa held the Buckeyes to just 2-of-11 shooting from behind the three-point arc and limited OSU to just 62 points. The Hawkeyes will need to be as good tonight as they face one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country.
Iowa is 17-3 in its last 20 home games and swept both games against the Spartans last season. The Hawkeyes are 15-11 ATS this season and 4-2 ATS in their last six games. Michigan State is just 1-5 ATS in its last six games, but the Spartans have had some success against Iowa. Over the course of the last 18 games against the Hawkeyes, Michigan State has won 14 times.
With its high-scoring offense, Iowa trends Over. The total has gone Over in 10 of Iowa’s last 14 games and the Hawkeyes’ Over/Under record for the season is 18-7-1. That includes a 12-3-1 O/U mark at home. Four of the last five Spartans-Hawkeyes games played at Iowa have gone Over the total.