Purdue Boilermakers vs. Michigan State Spartans Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Purdue Boilermakers (19-3 SU, 9-12-1 ATS) vs. Michigan State Spartans (19-5 SU, 8-15 ATS), 9:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, February 9, 2010, Jack Breslin Student Events Center, East Lansing, Mich. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of Predictem.com

Point Spread: Purdue +2.5/Michigan State -2.5
Over/Under: 139

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A week ago, Michigan State was 9-0 in the Big Ten and in complete control of the conference. Now, the Spartans have lost two games in a row and have four teams within one game in the loss column of them in the conference standings. One of those teams is Purdue, which is 7-3 in the Big Ten and also ranked in the top 10. A win on the road for the Boilermakers would help them get much closer to earning a No. 1 seed on Selection Sunday and possibly challenging for the Big Ten title, while the Spartans desperately need a win to get back on the winning track.

The first conference loss for the Spartans was last Tuesday at Wisconsin, 67-49, at the Kohl Center where teams rarely get road wins. But on Saturday, the Spartans lost again, this time at Illinois, 78-73. They were without their best player, Kalin Lucas, who sat out with an injury, so the Spartans did have an adequate excuse, although the Illini are a solid team who also is very strong at home. Without Lucas in the lineup, big man Draymond Green stepped up with 17 points and 16 rebounds for the Spartans. Chris Allen scored 15 points, and Durrell Summers had 11. Raymar Morgan and Delvon Roe each only had eight points and the two of them combined to attempt just 10 shots. Those two starting forwards really need to start stepping up for the Spartans to make a deep run once again in March. In the loss, the Spartans shot 55 percent from the field and 6-for-16 on 3-pointers. They also out-rebounded Illinois by 13. But their weakness was their defense and turnovers. They turned the ball over 18 times while only forcing nine turnovers, and they allowed Illinois to shoot 53 percent from the field and 8-for-18 on 3-pointers.

Lucas is questionable for the Purdue game with a sprained ankle. Tom Izzo has said that he will let Lucas try to play, but it’s uncertain how that will go and what kind of impact he will have.

Michigan State is 13-0 at home this season. The Boilermakers are 4-2 on the road, but they have yet to beat a ranked opponent on the road this season. All of their road wins are against decent teams, but none nearly as good as Michigan State. On the road, the Boilermakers have won at Alabama, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, and lost at Wisconsin and Northwestern.

Purdue’s only three losses this season came in a row in mid-January to Wisconsin, Ohio State and Northwestern. But since then, the Boilermakers have won five games in a row and are right back in the mix of things in the Big Ten and nationally. In their last game, the y won at Indiana last Thursday, 78-75. JaJuan Johnson and Robbie Hummel each led the team with 21 points. Johnson also had nine rebounds and Hummel added seven boards. E’Twaun Moore scored 14 points but shot just 5-of-16 from the field. The Boilermakers shot 46 percent from the field and 6-for-19 from 3-point range. They out-rebounded the Hoosiers by five and only committed nine turnovers, but they only forced 10 turnovers and allowed Indiana to shoot 45 percent from the field and 8-for-16 on 3-pointers.

Neither team is coming off a game where they played great defense. Both teams are coming off lackluster performances. This is a huge game and both teams need to come out with strong defensive intensity. It’s going to be a war out there and the team that fights harder will win the game.

Purdue is 2-6 ATS in its last eight games overall and 1-4 ATS in its last five road games. Despite being undefeated at home, the Spartans are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games, all as a favorite. They are also 1-4 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss, 0-5 ATS in their last five games as a favorite, and 0-4 ATS in their last four games overall. The home team and the favorite are both 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these teams, but Purdue is 5-1 ATS in its last six games against Michigan State. The under is 6-1 in the last seven meetings between these teams at Michigan State and 13-3 in the last 16 meetings overall.

Ryno’s Pick: I like Purdue to cover the spread here.