Indiana Laying 3 Points to Michigan State at Home; Hoosiers Are 11-1 at Assembly Hall

Banners hanging at Assembly Hall
The banners hanging at Assembly Hall are a reminder that picking up road wins in Bloomington is no easy task. Photo by Dottie Day (flickr).
  • Indiana is laying two points to Michigan State at home in  a Big Ten showdown on Thursday, Jan. 23
  • The Hoosiers are 11-1 at Assembly Hall and own wins over Ohio State, Florida State, and Louisiana Tech
  • The Spartans are 2-1 in true road games and got blown out by the Purdue in their last game away from East Lansing

The Indiana Hoosiers (14-4, 11-1 home) are laying two points to the Michigan State Spartans (14-4, 2-1 away) at Assembly Hall. The Big Ten matchup is set for Thursday, Jan. 23rd, in Bloomington with tip-off at 8:30 PM ET.

IU is 11-1 at home this season, including wins over Ohio State, Florida State and Louisiana Tech. Meanwhile, MSU is 2-1 away in true road games and was embarrassed 71-42 by Purdue in its last game away from East Lansing.

Michigan State Spartans vs Indiana Hoosiers Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Over/Under
Michigan State TBD -3 (-110) 141.5 (-110)
Indiana TBD +3 (-110) 141.5 (-110)

Odds taken Jan. 22 from BetOnline. 

Sportsbooks expect a close one  — and that’s reflected in the Michigan State vs Indiana odds. The Hoosiers have been dominant on their home floor this season, reflecting an historic trend in the Big Ten for all teams. But the Spartans are still a top-five consensus pick to win it all in the 2020 NCAA Tournament odds at an average of +1500.

Who wins this delicious conference tussle? Let’s break it down and make a prediction.

Home Cookin’

Big Ten teams have a combined 41-7 record in conference games this season. That includes Indiana sporting a 3-0 mark with wins over Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State.  Their 66-54 victory  over the Buckeyes on Jan. 11 was the program’s best so far this season.

Perhaps IU’s success in Bloomington this season is cosmic. After all, legendary Hoosiers head coach Bobby Knight moved back to the city he called home for so long for the first time in nearly two decades last year. And while Knight, who is reportedly declining in health, hasn’t stepped into Assembly Hall since famously being fired in 2000, Archie Miller’s team is playing like a vintage Knight squad of yesteryear.

A win over the Spartans on Thursday — a team the Hoosiers swept last season — would continue that trend and the conference-wide trend this season.

Down to the Wire

Last year’s 63-62 comeback win by the Hoosiers over then-No. 6 Sparty at Assembly came down to the last shot.

Indiana guard Rob Phinisee forced Michigan State star Cassius Winston into a difficult shot at the end, one which ultimately didn’t drop, and IU prevailed.

Indiana’s defense has been impressive with Phinisee as part of the regular rotation this season. The Hoosiers have held three of their last five opponents to under 40-percent shooting from the field. They’re currently ranked 30th in defense adjusted efficiency at KenPom.com, ahead of teams like Gonzaga and Arizona. This is a unit that can put the clamps down on opponents. Michigan State fans need look no further than the Spartans’ last visit to the Hoosier State for what a good defense looks like.

That 29-point loss to Purdue on Jan. 12 — when Michigan State’s vaunted offense scored just 42 points — was the program’s worst loss ever as a top-10 team. While I don’t expect Tom Izzo’s team to lay an egg in Bloomington like they did in West Lafayette, I think this one could go either way.

Separation Week

Izzo has labelled this week, featuring road outings at Indiana and Minnesota, as “separation week.” The veteran head coach knows his team is in for a big challenge.

“We’re either gonna win some games and separate ourselves, or we’re gonna lose some games and not separate ourselves. And I think that’s going to give us a better indication,” Izzo told the media Tuesday.

The Spartans are 6-1 in conference play, but have taken advantage of the schedule. Five of those wins came at the Breslin Center. Now, Sparty will find out what its made of starting this week. Both the Hoosiers (3-0) and Golden Gophers (4-0) have yet to lose on their home court this season. As noted above, Thursday’s tilt is a double-revenge game for MSU. And this is the only scheduled game between the Spartans and Hoosiers this season.

But when you factor in Big Ten teams’ home records this year, Indiana’s defense and the tough road ahead of Michigan State, picking Sparty to win is too foolish. A motivated MSU squad could sneak away with a win, but I’m playing the under in this spot. All the factors point to a slug-it-out-type affair.

Pick: Under 141.5 (-110)

 

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