Indiana Hoosiers (24-4), +5, o/u 134.5 @ Michigan State Spartans (22-6), -5, o/u 134.5, Jack Breslin Student Events Center, East Lansing, Mich., 2 p.m. Eastern, Sunday
by Oracle of Predictem.com
If college basketball fans have learned one thing about the 12th ranked Indiana Hoosiers in the past two weeks, it’s that they can play with distractions. After head coach Kelvin Sampson resigned on Feb. 22, the Hoosiers are 2-0, and with a win this afternoon on the road against the Spartans, they’ll stay in a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten.
Dan Dakich has filled Sampson’s void and the start to his tenure at Indiana wasn’t fruitful, with a handful of players skipping the team’s first practice. Since then, though, led by team leader D.J. White, Indiana has gotten up when they’ve been knocked down.
Although their two wins were against a dreadful Northwestern team and a freefalling Ohio State squad both by just three points - they were two signature wins for the program. The Hoosiers didn’t play their best basketball the past week and a half, but they have seemed to be slowly breaking out of their shells and putting the past behind them.
While Indiana keeps rolling, 15th ranked Michigan State has to be asking themselves, what happened to us? The Spartans have lost four out of seven all on the road and have slipped out of the Big Ten title race.
There’s good news for MSU, though. They’ll host Indiana on Sunday afternoon on CBS at the Breslin Center where they are a perfect 17-0, have a 20-game home winning streak, and Indiana hasn’t won there in 17 years. To top it all of, the home team has won the last seven meetings between the two schools.
The Spartans are pumped to play at home, losing their most recent game in Wisconsin, 57-42. The Michigan State offense was feeble, to say the least, shooting 34.5% from the field. Floor general Drew Neitzel, who is usually a Badger killer, went just 1-for-10 on the night, lowering his season average to 13.4 points per game. In addition, Michigan State’s total of 42 points was the second lowest of the season.
In order to stop the potent Hoosiers attack, the Spartans will rely on Goran Suton to hold down D.J. White in the paint. Suton had trouble guarding Wisconsin’s Brian Butch during Thursday’s loss, but did record 14 points and 15 rebounds. White isn’t much of an outside threat, though, so Suton won’t have to worry about guarding the three-point line.
During last month’s 80-61 Indiana win, Suton had no effect, committing four turnovers and two fouls in just 16 minutes of play.
It was the Hoosiers guards that came to life in the win. Eric Gordon had one of his best games on the year, scoring 28 points and grabbing five rebounds. He slowly seems to be recovering from a wrist injury that has been hampering him since the middle of the year. Also, Jordan Crawford came off the bench to spark Indiana with 12 points and 5 assists of his own.
Also in that contest, the Hoosiers committed 19 big turnovers. The Spartans have moderated their turnover struggles during the past three games, though, averaging just six.
Betting sites around the net realize that the Spartans are a much better team at home, as they are 5-point favorites, while the over/under stands at 134.5.
The Spartans aren’t great to bettors with a 9-13-2 overall record ATS including just a 5-8 home record. Although Michigan State is just 2-7 against the spread in their last 9 home games, the one trend that bettors may want to hear in the head-to-head match up is that the home team is 11-1 ATS in the last 12 meetings.
The over seems like a safe play if bettors are having qualms about the spread. The over is 8-2 for Michigan State over their past 10 home games against a team with a winning road record. The over is also 5-0 in Indiana’s last five games overall.
Although the Spartans have a stellar defense, they’ll have a hard time holding down Indiana’s potent offensive attack.
Oracle’s Pick: The Hoosiers have had two narrow escapes against below average teams since Dakich has taken over. It’s hard to see a Tom Izzo team lose another game - at home for that matter. The Spartans will break out of their slump. Take the over and Michigan State minus the points.