TV Schedule: Thursday, Jan. 28, 9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Stadium: Welsh-Ryan Arena
The Michigan State Spartans are coming off arguably their biggest win of the season. Why was their victory against the Maryland Terrapins so big, one might ask? Simple: Michigan State was riding a three-game losing streak, and Maryland is a top team in college hoops.
Next up, the Spartans will take on the Northwestern Wildcats. Northwestern has now lost three games in a row. It will play the Iowa Hawkeyes after this contest, which means that losing streak will likely continue.
Nonetheless, the Spartans will do battle with a 17-4 record and the Wildcats enter this clash with a 15-6 record. In terms of the Big Ten, neither team is taking conference play by storm. Michigan State is 4-4 in the conference and Northwestern is 3-5.
While the Wildcats do have that home-court advantage thing going, picking them to win this contest is certainly not the best option. The Spartans might not win the Big Ten title, but they still have the talent to make some serious noise the rest of the season, and in the Big Dance. Not to mention, they have Denzel Valentine (aka one of the best players in the country and a triple-double waiting to happen).
Northwestern has had a solid run so far, but it has some serious work to do if it plans on dancing. Therefore, it has to capture some marquee wins in Big Ten play. Wins against Michigan State and Iowa would be huge, but also unlikely.
Michigan State fans, look for your squad to get back to its winning ways.
PREDICTION: Spartans 80, Wildcats 67