NCAA Basketball Game Preview: Minnesota at Michigan State

Jan 12, 2022

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Game: Minnesota Golden Gophers @ Michigan State Spartans  

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET 

Odds: Gophers +11.5, Spartans -11.5 

Total: 138.5 

Michigan State has won eight straight and welcomes Minnesota to the Breslin Center tonight in Big Ten action. Big Ten play has not been kind to the Golden Gophers who are now 10-3 after consecutive conference losses to Indiana and Illinois. In fact, all three Minnesota losses this season have come in conference play. The other loss was to Michigan State back on Dec. 8. The Spartans won 75-67 in Minnesota. 

The Gophers lost on Sunday to Indiana 73-60. Jamison Battle led Minnesota with 19 points. Battle has been the Gophers’ go-to guy all season. He leads the team in scoring averaging 18.2 points per game. Payton Willis averages 15.8 points and 3.8 assists for Minnesota. Those two, plus leading rebounder Eric Curry (6.8 rpg), will need to be on top of their game if the Gophers are going to pull the upset on the road. 

Michigan State hasn’t played in a week after in-state rival Michigan postponed a game due to COVID issues. The Spartans last played last Wednesday and beat Nebraska 79-67. Head coach Tom Izzo’s team shot 51.8 percent from the floor and 47.1 percent from behind the three-point line. Freshman Max Christie (10.4 ppg) scored 21 points in the win over the Cornhuskers. Christie is one of three Spartans that average in double figures. Gabe Brown leads the team with 14.5 points a game and Marcus Bingham Jr. averages 10.5 and is the team’s leading rebounder averaging 7.8 boards per game. 

The Spartans are one of the nation’s top three-point shooting teams. MSU shoots 39.3 percent from behind the arc which ranks 13th in the country. The offense continues to improve as the season goes on, which is typical of Izzo-coached teams. The Spartans have scored 73 or more points in each of their last eight games. Remember, those are all victories too. Four of those wins were in Big Ten play, including the first win over Minnesota. 

In that first meeting against the Gophers, Brown and Tyson Walker each scored 15 points for the Spartans. Battle scored 17 points for Minnesota and Curry led the team with 18 and also grabbed five rebounds. Michigan State jumped out to a big 13-point halftime lead and cruised to the win. 

The two teams are opposites against the number this season. In their last six games, Minnesota is 1-4-1 ATS. Michigan State is 4-2 ATS in its last six. In its last seven games against Michigan State, the Golden Gophers are just 1-6 ATS. 

Both teams trend Over. The total has gone Over in five of Minnesota’s last seven games. It’s the same for the Spartans where the total has gone Over in five of the last six. The total has gone Over in six of Minnesota’s last seven games on the road, but in the series between Michigan State and Minnesota, the Under has cashed in eight of the last nine games.