The Michigan State Spartans return home to try and get their season back on track. The Spartans suffered a tough loss to top ten ranked Minnesota earlier in the week. The opening loss in Big Ten Conference play has the Spartans in trouble to fall out of the Top 25 rankings.
Michigan State ranks in the top 25 for field goal percentage among NCAA Basketball teams. The Spartans come into the game shooting .476, good for 23rd in the nation. Against Minnesota, MSU shot .444 against a strong Minnesota team, who shot .566 in the contest. Amazingly, the Spartans shot only 20% from the free throw line. I’m sure head coach Tom Izzo had some choice words for the team and they likely practiced free throws all week.
While Michigan State started the Big Ten season 0-1, Purdue is on the rise with a huge win over ranked Illinois Fighting Illini. Purdue cruised to a 68-61 win and now have a record over .500 for the first time in the 2012-2013 season.
One of the keys to Purdue’s win against Illinois was its strong rebounding. Purdue ranks 13th in the nation, averaging 41.7 rebounds per contest. The Boilermakers will have its hands full with a strong rebounding Spartans squad. Michigan State averages 39.6 rebounds per contest.
In my Big Ten season predictions, I had Purdue winning only four conference games and finishing 10th in the league. If Purdue plays like they did against Illinois and can continue to outrebound teams, they should get more than four wins. I predicted Michigan State would finish fourth in the league with a 13-5 conference record. This is a strong Spartans squad that has quality wins over both Texas and Kansas.
Michigan State will be happy to go home to the Breslin Center, where they hold a perfect 9-0 record on the season. The Spartans are favored by 11.5 points according to morning lines in Las Vegas. I see the game being closer, but think Izzo’s Spartans win the battle. Michigan State can’t afford to go 0-2 to start Big Ten play.