MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (21-3)
at MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (20-4)
Jack Breslin Student Events Center – East Lansing, MI
Tip-off: Tuesday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Michigan -1.5, Total: 131
In yet another huge game in the Big Ten Conference, No. 8 Michigan State hosts in-state rival No. 4 Michigan on Tuesday night.
The Wolverines have dropped two of their past three games SU, both on the road, and are just 3-5-1 ATS in their past nine contests. Since the 2013 calendar year began, the Spartans are 9-1 SU (7-3 ATS) with the lone defeat coming at No. 1 Indiana, which was a five-point loss against the double-digit-favorite Hoosiers. Although Michigan is 3-1 (SU and ATS) in the past four meetings between these schools, the Wolverines don't usually leave East Lansing happy, losing 12 of their past 13 trips to the Breslin Center.
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Michigan is a tremendous offensive basketball team, scoring 77.0 PPG (20th in D-I) on 49.8% FG (6th in nation) and 40.7% three-pointers (7th in D-I). The Wolverines commit the second-fewest turnovers in the land (9.3 TOPG), and have the second-best Ast/TO ratio (1.64) in the nation. The team also benefits greatly from committing the fewest personal fouls in the entire country at 12.0 per game, which keeps their scoring defense to a respectable 60.4 PPG despite the lack of steals (5.7 SPG) or blocks (2.8 BPG). Michigan's offense is propelled by its outstanding backcourt of PG Trey Burke (18.2 PPG, 7.1 APG) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (16.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG). Both players shoot better than 48% from the floor, with Hardaway Jr. draining 44% of his three-point tries and Burke ranking second in the nation with a 3.78 Ast/TO ratio. Burke scored 20 points on 8-of-11 FG in last season's home win over MSU, but was held to 11 points on 4-of-11 FG in the 64-54 victory in East Lansing. Hardaway was terrible in the two meetings, scoring a combined 14 points on 4-of-19 FG, including 0-for-7 from downtown. But he enters this game with 19.7 PPG and 10-of-17 threes over his past three contests. Freshman F/G Nik Stauskas (12.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG) continues to be a key player for this team. In Michigan's 21 wins this season, he has made 51.4% of his threes (57-for-111), but in the three defeats, he's connected on just 2-of-13 threes (15%) and is 5-for-20 from the floor overall. He has done a nice job on the glass recently though with 6.5 RPG in the past two contests. Freshman F Glenn Robinson III (11.3 PPG, 5.5 RPG) appears to have hit a wall, averaging a mere 5.3 PPG (30% FG) and 3.7 RPG in the past three contests despite logging 38.0 MPG. However, another freshman has stepped up his performance in February, as PF Mitch McGary (6.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG) has 12.0 PPG (60% FG), 7.0 RPG and 3.0 SPG in the past three games.
Michigan State is a much less explosive offense than its rival with 69.7 PPG (118th in nation) on 46.8% FG (35th in D-I). The Spartans like the pound the ball inside, rather than shooting a bunch of threes (5.1 makes per game, 273rd in nation). They do a great job hitting the glass (+6.5 RPG margin, 21st in D-I) and their 8.6 SPG (33rd in nation) is a big reason why they allow a mere 59.2 PPG on 39.0% FG. Junior PG Keith Appling (14.1 PPG, 4.1 APG) is a solid floor general with a 1.72 Ast/TO ratio and 1.6 SPG on the defensive end. He's pumped in 18.3 PPG on 53% FG (7-of-11 threes) in the past three games, and averaged 10.0 PPG on 47% FG in last season's series with Michigan. Swingman Branden Dawson (10.9 PPG, 6.5 RPG) has also been a greater offensive force lately with 13.8 PPG on 61% FG in his past five games. He was nearly perfect in Saturday's win at Purdue, making 7-of-9 FG and 6-of-6 free throws for 20 points. Freshman SG Gary Harris (12.7 PPG) has not let back spasms slow him down, averaging 14.5 PPG on 51% FG in the past four games. Senior C Derrick Nix (9.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG) had scored eight points or less in five straight games before exploding for 17 points on 6-of-11 FG on Saturday. Nix scored 19 points on 9-of-17 FG in the two meetings with the Wolverines last season.