Michigan vs. Michigan State Predictions: Will Points Be Hard to Come By in East Lansing?

College basketball expert Mike Spector gives his prediction for the highly anticipated Saturday matinee Big Ten matchup between Michigan and Michigan State.
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Michigan vs. Michigan State Prediction: Will Points Be Hard to Come By in East Lansing?

When one team calls another team in the same state their “little brother,” you know there is no love lost. The Michigan State Spartans have won five of their last seven meetings with Michigan, including their last four matchups at the Breslin Center. So will the Spartans continue their home dominance in this rivalry, or will Michigan continue to extend its longest winning streak of the season?

Here are our picks and predictions for the Big Ten matchup between Michigan and Michigan State.

Michigan vs. Michigan State Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Saturday, January 28

Game Time: 12:30 pm ET

Where to Watch: CBS

Click Here for Michigan State vs Michigan Odds

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Michigan vs. Michigan Line Movement

Michigan vs. Michigan State Prediction

Just when it looked like Michigan (10-7, 4-3) was playing their best basketball and had turned a corner, they threw a surprisingly difficult two-point home win over Northwestern into the mix. Before that, Michigan had beaten Maryland and Indiana by 37 combined points, and their 18-point road win against the Hoosiers was Indiana’s only loss by double figures this season. While it still went down as a win, head coach Juwan Howard has to be concerned about how his team played against Northwestern. Both of his big men, Hunter Dickinson and Moussa Diabate, fouled out in the game, and three other Wolverines were saddled with three fouls. Michigan had trouble defending the Wildcats off the dribble, and the underdogs seemingly lived at the foul line all game, attempting 26 free throws.

While Michigan is looking to play better despite coming off a win, Michigan State (15-4, 6-2) knows they missed a golden opportunity to beat a talented Illinois team that was missing two of its biggest pieces in Kofi Cockburn and Andre Curbelo. The Illini locked down defensively against the Spartans minus their two stars, holding Michigan State to 16-41 from inside the arc and 3-14 from 3-point range. The Spartans rallied with an 18-7 run to end the game but ultimately could not recover from a 14-point halftime deficit.

Though the Wolverines had issues defensively against Northwestern, the bigger concern heading into this matchup is their lack of consistent scorers outside of Hunter Dickinson and Eli Brooks. Much of Michigan’s offense lately seems predicated around the two-man game of Brooks and Dickinson and often relies on Dickinson’s post touches to help open up the floor for others. However, Tom Izzo has multiple bodies (Malik Hall, Marcus Bingham, Julius Marble) to throw at Dickinson and will likely take his chances one-on-one with the Wolverines center not to make things easier for Michigan’s other playmakers.

Conversely, Michigan State has not looked right offensively of late, as three offensive clunkers (188 points combined in three of their last four) surround an 86-point outburst at Wisconsin. Michigan is not one of the country’s most feared offensive rebounding teams as they rank 106th in offensive rebounding percentage. Therefore, look for Howard’s club to punt offensive rebounds with more of a concern to get back in transition and slow Michigan State’s fast-break attack. 

The over has cashed in four of Michigan’s last five games, but we expect a defensive struggle this afternoon.

Michigan vs. Michigan State Pick

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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