Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has proven to be one of the best postseason coaches in the nation as evidenced by his 61-30 (.670) record in tournament play. However, Izzo is at his best when playing with same-season revenge as the Spartans are a remarkable 28-6 SU and 25-8-1 ATS when seeking to avenge a conference loss since 2000, including 22-0 SU and 19-2-1 ATS when favored by four or more points (which is not the case today). Wisconsin recently handed the Spartans a heartbreaking two-point loss, and Izzo will have his team prepared to make amends for that defeat.
Fundamental Analysis: Michigan State
Michigan State is averaging 75.9 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 68.2 points per game, thereby making the Spartans 7.7 points per game better than average offensively. The most impressive aspect of Michigan State’s offense is its efficiency as the Spartans are shooting 47.2% from the field and 39.6% from beyond the arc despite suffering several debilitating injuries throughout the regular season The Spartans’ efficiency on the offensive end of the floor is at an all-time high as they are shooting 47.9% from the floor and 44.3% from three-point territory over the last five games.
Wisconsin possesses a very good defense that is 7.4 points per game better than average (63.9 points per game to teams that would combine to average 71.3 points per game), but that still gives the Spartans a slight advantage on the offensive end of the floor. Let’s also note that Wisconsin is yielding 66.2 points per game to conference opponents and 65.6 points over its last five games so the Badgers’ defense is heading in the wrong direction.
Michigan State is allowing 65.3 points per game to teams that would combine to average 71.3 points per game, thereby making the Spartans 6.0 points per game better than average defensively. The good news for Michigan State investors is the fact that the Spartans are limiting opponents to just 62.2 points over the last four games, including allowing 51 points to Northwestern last night. “It was good being out there having fun,” said Michigan State guard Gary Harris, who scored 13 points against Northwestern. “We placed an emphasis on it in practice week and to improve our defense and our communication. We played with a lot of energy on defense and that carried over to our offensive end. We were playing like we were earlier in the season.”
Finally, Tom Izzo has stated that the Big Ten Tournament is “huge” for the Spartans as “every game and every practice we can have benefits this team — a lot.” Senior forward Adreian Payne echoed those words. “The tournament will give us an opportunity to get some extra time together on the court to work on our chemistry,” Payne said. “It also gives us a chance to win a championship before we go to win another one in the NCAA tournament.” With Michigan State standing at a perfect 6-0 ATS in this series and 7-3 ATS in its last ten games, take the Spartans behind one of the best coaches in the nation and invest with confidence.