Transition, Tempo Vital for Big Ten Foes
Michigan State and Iowa couldn’t be more different. The Spartans rely on a balanced offense while the Hawkeyes are fine with Big Ten scoring leader Keegan Murray taking control. Iowa leads the Big Ten in steals while Michigan State tops the charts in blocked shots.
Iowa is tied for second in the Big Ten with 13 home wins while Michigan State is one of four conference teams with a winning record on the road. What all this means is a potentially entertaining and hard-to-call showdown.
Murray (+800) has jumped to fourth in the national player of the year odds, although two of the players ahead of him are conference rivals Johnny Davis of Wisconsin and Kofi Cockburn of Illinois,
Michigan State Fading Fast
The month of February has not been kind for Michigan State.
After opening up the month by emerging with a two-point win at Maryland, the Spartans have dropped four of their last five games, including losses by 21 points to Rutgers and 15 to Indiana. The latter of those two defeats came at home, as did a five-point loss to Illinois the last time out as Michigan State fell to sixth place in the Big Ten standings.
The days of the Spartans shooting better than 50 percent in four out of six games to move up in the standings feels like ancient history. Michigan State has shot less than 50 percent in each of its last six games and made it to the foul line at least 20 times in only one of those contests, so making up for a lack of shooting success by living at the free-throw line hasn’t been happening either.
There were some positive signs in the loss to Illinois. Michigan State had seven more assists than turnovers after being +2 in that department in the previous five games.
Michigan State has covered against the college basketball spreads in five of its last six games.
Iowa Bouncing Back
With the way things are going, perhaps the Iowa Hawkeyes should send a thank you card to the Penn State Nittany Lions.
There have been plenty of stunning results in the Big Ten this season and the Hawkeyes’ four-point loss to Penn State in double overtime is right up there.
Iowa won games with impressive defensive efforts, emerged victorious when shooting 60 percent and putting up 110 points on Maryland as well as posting double-digit victories against Nebraska and then-No. 18 Ohio State to climb over the .500 mark in Big Ten play.
Big Ten scoring leader Keegan Murray has been front and center in this surge. The Hawkeyes have won their last six games when Murray has shot better than 50 percent from the field. Murray has six consecutive 20-point games, including 37 in the win against Nebraska. Murray has had mixed results against ranked teams, going 8 for 28 in games against Iowa State and Purdue compared to 20 for 33 against Ohio State and Wisconsin.
Murray wasn’t rated as highly coming out of high school as many of the potential NBA Draft lottery picks, but his breakthrough season has certainly caught the eye of the scouts.
Should Keegan Murray be getting more attention at the top of the draft?
The player he really reminds me of is T.J. Warren, @johnhollinger writes.
“It seems Murray is one of the safer lottery bets on the board.”
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) February 21, 2022
The Las Vegas odds total has gone over in 10 of Iowa’s last 14 games.
Michigan State at Iowa Head-to-Head
Iowa swept both games against Michigan State a season ago, including a 30-point win as a 4½-point road underdog.
Michigan State had won the previous five matchups but only covered in three of them, including a pair of wins on Iowa’s home court. The Spartans were favored in both of those showdowns, but hat won’t be the case in this game.
Three of the last four matchups between the Hawkeyes and Spartans have gone under the total. This will be the seventh straight game in the series with a total of over 150, with three of those going under and three going over the total.
According to the March Madness predictions, Michigan State (+2400) and Iowa (+3500) are among the Big Ten teams in contention to make runs to the Final Four.
Michigan State at Iowa Game Information
- Game: Michigan State (18-8) at Iowa (18-8)
- Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena
- Day/Time: Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET
- Television: ESPN
Michigan State at Iowa Prediction
This is a huge game for both teams, especially looking ahead to where they might fit into the March Madness bracket.
Although Michigan State has hit a rough patch, seeing Iowa favored by six points does seem a bit on the high side.
Seven of the last 11 Iowa games have gone over the total when it was 153½ or lower, so that is something for those who bet online to consider.