Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hoops Preview: Michigan State @ Michigan

Oh this is hard. I need to be objective. I need to be objective. I'll keep repeating that to myself throughout this preview. Of course Dylan and Brian both do a far better job at previewing the game than I will. So read on at your own peril. Let's get to it.

The Who, Where and When:
(9) Michigan State Spartans (15-3, 4-1) @ Michigan Wolverines (14-4, 4-2). Tuesday, January 17th, 2012. Crisler Arena, Ann Arbor, MI

The Matchup:
This is the first time since 1998 that the rivalry sees both teams ranked in the top 25. And since the sweep of the Spartans last season and with the Wolverines playing much better ball, the rivalry has ratcheted up a notch or two.

The four factors are very much in the Spartans favor:

Four Factors

Four Factors

EFG% 52.7 53.8
TO% 20.2 18
OR% 39.7 30.6
FTR 39.8 28.9

This is a Spartan team of old. They kill you on the boards, force you to turn the ball over and shoot efficiently. They are a far different team than last year. Dramon Green is the guy. He leads the team in minute, scoring and rebounding. He's kind of a monster. And Keith Appling has made a nice jump in his sophomore season to become a key second man. They don't shoot three's all that well, so I would look for the Wolverine's to get some 2-3 zone action going to try and keep the Spartans off the glass and force them to shoot from the outside.

Michigan is coming off two games in which they have looked horrible. The first a win by-the-skin-of-your-teeth at home against Northwestern and the second a blow-out loss at Iowa. Michigan needs a big game from Tim Hardaway Jr. If Hardaway can get on track early and carry the team they will have a chance. SO big man Evan Smotrycz has to break out of his funk as well. Since starting conference play he has been not-so-good. SR Guard Zack Novak will have some Draymond Green duty and this one and has to find a way to keep him of the glass. I'll be interested to see how FR G Trey Burke handles Appling's defense.

Irreverent (Irrelevant) Considerations:
Just from a total Homer standpoint I can't put anything else in this section but GO BLUE!

Vegas Baby, Vegas!:
MSU is a 1 point favorite in this game. The O/U is 128.5. Michigan has gone under in it's last four home games and three out of the four games in this matchup have gone under, with the fourth being in Ann Arbor the only over finish. And if Michigan isn't shooting well again I think the under is the play. On the year MSU is 4-1 ATS on the road and Michigan is just 5-4 ATS at home. That said, they are also undefeated at home.

Productive Sweatpants Pick:
This is hard for me. I really don't want to do this, but I have to. I know that Michigan plays well at home which is reflected in their undefeated record. That said, they are 0-3 verse Top 25 teams this year. Until Michigan starts shooting better and their offense is more in sync, I can't pick them over a good team. Michigan State 63-59. (I will now go and whip myself Opus Dei style).

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