Michigan State’s men’s basketball team hasn’t won multiple games in the NCAA Tournament since making the Final Four in 2019. Could 2023 be the year that changes?
The Spartans are playing some of their best basketball of the season of late, winning five consecutive games entering Saturday’s home clash with rival Michigan. The Wolverines, on the other hand, could be headed for an NIT appearance rather than a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Michigan has a record of 9-5, and close losses to Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina could haunt the team come March. A road win at Michigan State would certainly boost the Wolverines’ national standing, and they’re seemingly trending in the right direction after consecutive home wins over Maryland and Penn State.
What a wild Wednesday at Crisler Center! YOUR Wolverines improve to 3-0 in Big Ten play after a 79-69 win over Penn State. 🎥 highlights you say? Hit ▶️
〽️🏀 #GoBlue pic.twitter.com/Kw81q8yWSB
— Michigan Men’s Basketball (@umichbball) January 5, 2023
A betting line for the Michigan-Michigan State game had yet to be shared by mobile sportsbook operators as of Thursday night, but Michiganders have access to sportsbooks like BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel, and PointsBet, all of which are expected to offer betting lines on the game, which will likely be listed by Saturday morning at the latest.
KenPom.com, a well-respected college basketball analytics website, projects Michigan State as a 4-point home favorite against the Wolverines.
The Spartans are 6-1 at home this season, although they’re just 3-4 against the spread at the Breslin Center. Interestingly, Michigan has only played one true road game this season, defeating Minnesota 90-75 on Dec. 8.
The total for the game, according to KenPom, figures to be around 140 points. Each team takes care of the basketball while struggling to force turnovers, perhaps an appealing statistic for prospective over bettors.
Both teams in the top five in the Big Ten in offensive and defensive efficiency during league play. Suffice it to say, the state rivals are each seeking a quality win Saturday at 2:30 p.m. local time in a game that will air on FOX.
Dickinson podcast controversy
Michigan star Hunter Dickinson drew headlines earlier this week for a negative reason, which may add hostility to the rivalry game.
Dickinson was part of a decision to remove a Barstool Sports podcast episode he co-hosts that compared Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo to Adolf Hitler. Dickinson told the Associated Press he wasn’t sure if he was on the episode, but comments made by another member of the podcast circulated on social media this week.
Never in my life would have thought this paragraph would be included in a legitimate news story. https://t.co/1LyfADhxqV pic.twitter.com/cBYw062Bgy
— Eric Lloyd (@EricLloyd) January 5, 2023
“There won’t be any more Hitler comments going forward, especially about Tom Izzo,” Dickinson told the Associated Press.
He added that he has a lot of respect for Izzo.
It’s not the first time comments on the podcast have come back to reflect poorly on Dickinson. Earlier this season, Dickinson said he expected his team to blow out Arizona State. That didn’t quite work out for the big man, who scored 12 points in his team’s 25-point loss to the Sun Devils.
“Is Arizona State as good as Pitt… We win by 20.” -Hunter Dickinson pic.twitter.com/tOeKyoANiq
— Deep Water Connoisseur (@DeepWaterTime) November 18, 2022
Photo: Matthew Dae Smith/USA TODAY