Michigan State vs. Michigan Top Picks for Saturday: Will Wolverines Keep NCAA Tournament Hopes Alive?

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Kobe Bufkin #2 of the Michigan Wolverines drives to the basket against the Michigan State Spartans. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFP.

NCAAB Pick: Under 134.5 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Under 134.5 (-110)
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The Michigan State Spartans will finally re-take the court tonight against the Michigan Wolverines. This is one of the best rivalries in sports, and we’re likely in for a good one. In the first meeting between these two teams, Michigan State won in a close, low-scoring game. Could tonight’s game see reverse results?

Let’s see what the NCAAB odds tell us at Michigan betting sites!

Michigan State Spartans vs. Michigan Wolverines

Saturday, February 18, 2023 – 08:00 PM EST at Crisler Center

It’s time for some rivalry basketball. The Michigan State Spartans will take a quick trip to Michigan for tonight’s FOX-featured matchup.

The Spartans last played on Sunday due to the on-campus shooter tragedy that left multiple victims. Meanwhile, Michigan has lost two straight games and must finish the season with wins if the Wolverines want to make the NCAA Tournament.

Will Lack of Offensive Rebounding Hurt Michigan?

The Michigan Wolverines have shot 34.8% from deep and 51% from inside the arc this season. They’ve also turned the ball over just 14.4% of the time. However, the Wolverines aren’t getting to the foul line at a high rate and have shot under 70% from the foul line when they get there.

Michigan also needs to improve on the offensive glass, earning under 25% of offensive rebounds. Michigan’s nearly a .500 team because they’ve struggled to do the little things well.

Ultimately, they’ll struggle against Michigan State to do those little things. The Spartans have held teams to 24.7% of offensive rebounds and are above average in limiting fouls. Michigan State has also been able to limit the three-pointer, giving up just 28.9% of threes this season. Even inside, the Spartans have allowed just 47.4%.

The Spartans won’t earn a lot of turnovers but could force Michigan into plenty of tough shots and won’t allow second chances off misses.

Michigan State’s Struggle Inside the Arc

The Spartans have shot 37% from downtown but just 47.6% from inside the arc. Michigan State isn’t taking a ton of threes per game, so that rate from inside the arc is what we’ll see most of the night.

The Spartans have only earned 27.5% of offensive rebounds and struggle to consistently get to the foul line. They even get to the line fewer times than Michigan.

Like Michigan, the Spartans can limit turnovers, but they’ll also struggle to do the little things. The Wolverines shave held teams to 31.8% from downtown and 48.1% from inside the arc. Teams have also earned just 26.9% of offensive rebounds and rarely get to the foul line against them.

Game Prediction

Michigan State hasn’t played in a week. With everything on their campus, it’s hard to expect the Spartans to play at a high level, especially on the road against their arch-rivals.

On the other hand, Michigan has lost two straight games and is coming off a poor effort against Wisconsin on the road. The Wolverines have been in every game as of late but have scored an average of 60 points over their last two games, which were both losses.

Michigan State defeated Michigan 59-53 in their building earlier this year. Again, both teams got to 60 points. The game was highly slow-moving until the final ten minutes when Michigan started to storm back and carry out the game.

Michigan shot just 3-for-20 from downtown. That will probably change. The Wolverines will likely shoot better at home. But then again, Michigan State’s offense inside the arc won’t be too impressive in this game. The Spartans shot just 40.5% from inside the arc against Michigan in that first game.

The Pick

I’m taking Under 134.5 for my NCAAB picks. I don’t think either team will get to 60 points again; even if one team gets to 70, we can still hit this Under. Michigan State held Ohio State to just 41 points in their last game, they also defeated Maryland 63-58 in the game before that. That’s a Maryland team that just knocked off Purdue.

This will be an all-out defensive brawl between two rivals. But if you’re making me also pick a winner, I like Michigan at home.

I don’t know how Michigan State will respond to everything that’s gone on. They could come out firing on all cylinders or just be completely lost. I don’t want to think they’ll be lost entirely, but scoring consistently on the road against Michigan is never easy.

Hopefully, the fan base will be a bit easier on Michigan State today. But either way, Michigan should end up holding Michigan State and eventually earn a much-needed win.

NCAAB Pick: Michigan -2 (-110) at BetOnline

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Michigan -2 (-110)
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