Michigan and Michigan State faced off last weekend for the Big Ten regular-season championship. Sunday afternoon at the United Center in Chicago, they play again for the conference tournament title. In short, the Mitten is the cream of the crop for Midwestern basketball.
The Spartans swept the Wolverines during conference play, taking the first game in Ann Arbor 77-70 and the second one in East Lansing 75-63. This gave Tom Izzo and company the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, while John Beilein’s squad was forced to make due at No. 3.
Michigan State reintegrated junior center Nick Ward to the lineup after missing time with hand injury. It ended up coming at the perfect time, as the Spartans faced 2 of the best big men in the Big Ten in Ohio State’s Kaleb Wesson and Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ. Ward teamed up with Xavier Tillman to stifle Wesson to just 7 points in a 77-70 quarterfinal victory on Friday. The next day, Ethan Happ’s 20 points weren’t enough in a 67-55 MSU triumph.
Michigan, meanwhile, has stampeded its competition. It ejected Iowa in the quarterfinals 74-53, exacting revenge for a 71-56 Hawkeye upset in Iowa City on Feb. 1. The next day, Isaiah Livers led the Wolverine offense with 21 points, sparking a 1.25 points per possession performance overall in a 25-point rout over Minnesota.
Michigan looked like one of the best teams in the country in December, as the Wolverines dispatched both potential 1-seed North Carolina and defending national champion Villanova by double-digits. Will Michigan State see that team, or do the Spartans just have the magic formula versus their in-state rivals this season?
Michigan Wolverines vs Michigan State Spartans Betting Line & Over/Under
(Betting Line and Total courtesy of Oddsshark.com)
- Michigan Wolverines (28-5) vs Michigan State Spartans (27-6)
- Sunday, March 17th at 3:30 pm ET
- Point Spread: Michigan (-1)
- Point Total: 131.5
Michigan Wolverines vs Michigan State Spartans Betting Pick & Prediction
This line seems to be predicated on the fact that both Michigan and Michigan State possess top-10 efficiency defenses nationally (at least according to Ken Pomeroy). The Wolverines are the top-ranked one in the country, while the Spartans are No. 9.
Despite this, both meetings well surpassed today’s line of 131. Game one featured a combined 147 points, while game two saw 138. In fact, the last time the programs scored less than 131 points combined against each other was the 2014 Big Ten Tournament Championship (a 69-55 Spartan victory).