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The Big Ten is a hot one for some fun hoops tonight when Michigan State heads to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for their lone matchup with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Michigan State is trying to stop the train because they’ve dropped four of five games while Iowa has won four of five. The Hawkeyes are a 5.5-point favorite. The total, she’s up there at 153.5.
It is an undisputed, written in stone, cold fact that it’s the Keegan Murray Show for Iowa. I have written in these pages how much I love this guy (+750 to win the Wooden). He is in my top 5 players to watch in all of these United States. I love him to because he SHOWS UP! This man has scored in double-figures in every game minus one. He has six double-doubles (Iowa is 5-1) and shoots 56.1% from the field. He’s even better at home in scoring, rebounding and efficiency.
Iowa uses him and senior guard Jordan Bohannon to push the tempo and issue at home and teams really struggle with it. Bohannon averages 10.7 points and is shooting 37 percent from deep and has been a constant figure in the stat sheet, scoring double-digits in 16 of the Hawkeyes 26 games and in each of his last four (three wins). This was a team that had lost three of four to end January and are now back fighting in the Big Ten race and a shot still at the last 1st Round Conference tourney double-bye.
Michigan State has run aground. They’ve lost to a good Wisconsin team and a good Illinois crew, beat a capable Indiana squad but lost a head-scratcher to Penn State and a disaster at Rutgers. Sparty is lost and at a bad time. They are struggling to find the bottom of the net. They average 72.8 points per game but in this 5-game stretch they are coring 66.6 per game and that factors 76 scored in a win against the Hoosiers. They scored 22 points in the first half on Saturday. TWENTY-TWO!
Tom Izzo usually is at his best down the stretch run of the season and I have seen too many times him make fools of bettors who count his team out too soon so I will not make that mistake… at least not tonight. Instead I am going to focus on the total tonight. Iowa boasts the 4th best offense in the land cramming 83.5 points per game through the hole. Even though the Spartans have struggled with points, the defense for the Hawkeyes won’t impress many, allowing 71.5 points per and that’s in the bottom third of the country. Izzo’s bunch did manage 52 second-half points against Illinois on Saturday and may have a little something left in the tank for everyone after all. Iowa games have gone OVER in 11 of their 16 home games (one push) and in 6 of their 8 Big Ten tussles. Tonight, we want points. Let me have the guards of Michigan State and the star of Hawkeye in this cauldron for an OVER 153.5 play.