Thursday, January 30, 2014
Time: 9PM ET
Venue: Crisler Center
Records: Purdue 13-7, 3-4 Big Ten; Michigan 15-4, 7-0
Purdue stat leaders: Points – Terone Johnson (13.4 ppg); Rebounds – A.J. Hammons (6.8 rpg); Assists – Ronnie Johnson (3.7 apg); Steals – Bryson Scott (1.2 spg).
Michigan stat leaders: Points – Nik Stauskas (18.5 ppg); Rebounds – Jon Horford (4.9 rpg); Assists – Stauskas (3.8 apg); Steals – Caris LeVert (1.2 spg).
Current Streaks: Purdue L2, Michigan W9
Point Spread: Michigan -12
Prediction: Purdue comes in lacking in a great offense, as the Boilermakers have been held to 66 points or less in their last four outings. Michigan is one of the top offensive teams in the Big Ten, thanks to their strong shooters, especially Stauskas. Coming off a tremendous three-game stretch in which it beat top-10 teams, I expect Michigan to have a little bit of a letdown against Purdue tonight. I am not projecting a loss, but I think the Wolverines will come out a little slow and perhaps lack some energy on both sides of the ball. That will keep Michigan from scoring its usual total and allowing Purdue to get a few easy baskets it isn’t accustomed to. Matchup-wise, Michigan should dominate this game, but this is one of those games that could be dangerous if the Wolverines aren’t focused. Michigan 68, Purdue 63
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Time: 7PM ET
Venue: Carver-Hawkeye Arena
Records: Michigan State 18-2, 7-1 Big Ten; Iowa 16-4, 5-2
Michigan State stat leaders: Points – Garry Harris (18.8 ppg); Rebounds – Denzel Valentine (5.9 rpg); Assists – Keith Appling (4.9 apg); Steals – Harris (2.2 spg).
Iowa stat leaders: Points – Roy Devyn Marble (16.1 ppg); Rebounds – Melsahn Basabe (6.7 rpg); Assists – Mike Gesell (3.8 apg); Steals – Marble (2.0 spg).
Current Streaks: Michigan State L1, Iowa W1
Point Spread: Iowa -6
Prediction: Given the injuries, this is not a good matchup for Michigan State. Iowa comes in as the third-best rebounding team in the country and the Hawkeyes like to play up tempo. MSU has the guards to compete with Iowa, but the Spartans will have to shoot incredibly well to win this game. With Keith Appling not 100 percent, I don’t see that happening. This game would be interesting if MSU was coming in healthy, but with the Spartans keeping themselves together with glue and tape, look for Iowa to be too much for them. Iowa 78, Michigan State 70
Friday, January 24, 2014
Time: 7PM ET
Venue: Breslin Center
Records: Michigan 14-4, 6-0 Big Ten; Michigan State 18-1, 7-0
Michigan stat leaders: Points – Nik Stauskas (18.5 ppg); Rebounds – Jon Horford (5.1 rpg); Assists – Stauskas (3.8 apg); Steals – Caris LeVert (1.3 spg).
Michigan State stat leaders: Points – Garry Harris (18.3 ppg); Rebounds – Branden Dawson (8.7 rpg); Assists – Keith Appling (4.6 apg); Steals – Harris (2.1 spg).
Current Streaks: Michigan W8, Michigan State W11
Point Spread: Michigan State -5
Prediction: I am surprised to see MSU favored by 5 entering this game with Branden Dawson out and Adreian Payne not expected to play. Michigan has really impressed me in the last few weeks and I think it had the chance to win this game prior to Dawson’s injury. For some reason, MSU doesn’t play that well at the Breslin Center this season and having their best two bigs out of the game isn’t going to help. Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford have improved their play with Mitch McGary out. The collection of Matt Costello, Alex Gauna and Kenny Kaminski will have to do the same for MSU. If the Spartans are to win, it will likely fall on Gary Harris and Keith Appling to get it done on both sides of the ball. Harris shouldn’t have trouble scoring, but Appling has been taking a beating with his aggressive play on offense. It is good to see Appling attacking, but his body is not handling the extra contact. Nik Stauskas is playing as well as anyone in the country and if he isn’t contained – not just from shooting, but also from distributing – MSU can’t win. The Wolverines just seem to be connected right now. Their offensive chemistry is tremendous, and while their defense could be better, it hasn’t kept them from winning. I look for Michigan to pull out another big win on the road thanks to that offensive chemistry. Michigan 70, Michigan State 66