Photo: flickr Writer: Eric Daniel
Michigan State has been one of the bigger disappointments so far this season in college basketball, but to be fair to the Spartans they’d had to deal with some injuries. With that said the Spartans have still been playing under their expectations standing 8-5 overall coming into a tricky Big Ten opener on the road against Minnesota. Michigan State has even had a tough time at home against mid-major competition losing or barely getting by squads like FGCU, Oral Roberts, Tennessee Tech, and Northeastern. In their last outing Michigan State was able to come through getting by Oakland by a final of 77-65, but the Golden Grizzlies were playing on back to back nights in that matchup. MSU has had their issues on both sides of the ball and their offense has been led by veteran Eron Harris who’s averaging just 13.4 points per game.
Minnesota has shown vast improvement from where they were a season ago and it’ll be interesting to see if the Gophers have what it takes to step up tonight and come through in their conference opener against the Spartans. Minnesota was able to take advantage of their home heavy nonconference slate standing 12-1 overall with some of their better wins coming against UT Arlington, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and in their last outing against Arkansas State by a final of 82-75. Minnesota has been playing off of their defense as this group ranks 48th in the nation in total defense and 117th in scoring average. The Golden Gophers spread the ball around with 5 guys averaging at least 9 points per game and Nate Mason leads the team averaging 13.2 points per contest.
Michigan State has come up well short of their expectations so far this season, while Minnesota comes into Big Ten play looking much stronger than they were a season ago. Minnesota gets the home court here which should boost their chances to take down the struggling Spartans. This game means a lot to both squads out of the gate in conference play and we like Minnesota to come through as they go on to cover the spread.
Minnesota -5 -110