MICHIGAN ST. @ IOWA | 1/24 | 7:00 PM EST
The fifth-ranked Spartans have won a school-record 20 straight regular-season Big Ten contests and they are coming off a 69-55 victory over No. 16 Maryland on Monday. Junior forward Nick Ward did not score a single point for the first time in his career in the defeat of Maryland, but he went for 26 points 10-of-10 shooting in the first matchup with Iowa this season–a 90-68 win for the Spartans last month. As a team, the Spartans average 84 points per game on 50 percent shooting from the floor (10th in the nation) and 38 percent shooting from three. They average 43 rebounds, which is 2nd in the country, 20.6 assists, which is 1st in the country,
The 21st-ranked Hawkeyes are winners of five straight after routing Illinois 95-71 on Sunday. Iowa’s top two scorers, forwards Tyler Cook (16.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg) and Luka Garza (13.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg), would like a little payback against the Spartans after they combined for 22 points, 17 rebounds, and seven fouls compared to Ward and Goins’ combined 45 points and 23 rebounds in the first matchup. Those hopes could depend on the outside shooting of Joe Wieskamp (11.9 ppg, 34 total three-pointers) and Jordan Bohannon (11.2 ppg, 43 treys). As a team, Iowa averages 83 points per game on 48 percent shooting from the floor and 37 percent shooting from three. They average 36.6 rebounds, 16.8 assists, and 12.5 turnovers per game. Defensively, they allow 72 points per game, on average, and allow teams to shoot 43 percent from the field and about 31 percent from three-point range.
The trusty projection model sees the red-hot Spartans taking care of business Thursday against the upstart Hawkeyes. My numbers have Michigan State winning by an average of nine points and covering the spread at least 61 percent of the time. Back the road favorite in this crucial Big Ten contest.