The No. 9 Maryland Terrapins host the No. 24 Michigan State Spartans on Saturday night in a game that is sure to be exciting. Maryland is led by Anthony Cowan Jr., who will likely be tasked with guarding Michigan State’s Cassius Winston.
Michigan State is coming off a huge win against No. 18 Iowa and could notch another upset in their belt if they are able to topple Maryland.
Maryland is coming off a close win against Minnesota and can clinch at least a tie for its first regular-season Big Ten title with a win over Michigan State.
This game has a small spread with Maryland coming in as a 2.5-point favorite. Before we make our pick, let’s see what both teams bring to Saturday night.
Michigan State to upset Big Ten top dog
Michigan State is starting to get the respect they deserve, especially after defeating Iowa on Tuesday night, mostly due to Cassius Winston. Winston, who scored 19 of his 20 points in the second half against Iowa, will have to repeat that performance against Maryland. For Michigan State’s sake, I hope Winston is able to get started earlier than the second half.
The worst thing about the Spartans win against Iowa was their defense. It’d be more accurate to say “lack of defense.” Coach Tom Izzo seemed very unhappy with the way Iowa’s Luka Garza was able to slice through the Spartans. However, in the second half, the Spartans played much better, and Rocket Watts was able to score 21 points to help secure a Spartans victory.
The last time the Spartans faced the Terrapins, Michigan State came up short, losing 67-60, mostly due to terrible shooting. Coming up 15 points short of their average of 75.57 and allowing Maryland to have more opportunities from the three-point line. Another point of note is how awful the Spartans were shooting from three, going 4 for 19 on the night.
Recently Michigan State has been awful against the spread, going 1-7 in their last eight games, most of which went under. They also are 2-8 ATS on the road, and considering the Terrapins allow an average of 63.32, the Spartans covering in this one is questionable.
Terrapins looking to stay atop of Big Ten
The Maryland Terrapins are starting to look like the team to beat in college basketball; however, they have had some setbacks along the way. Narrowly escaping Minnesota with a 74-73 win due to a three-pointer with 1.9 seconds left and losing to 25th ranked Ohio State the game before are examples of said setbacks.
With only three games left in their season, the Terrapins have their future in their hands. If they falter and lose a couple of these remaining games, four teams are following closely behind and can increase their own position. However, if they win three straight games, it will be hard to deny their improvement over last season.
Most of the Terrapins’ offensive success is due to Anthony Cowan Jr., who leads the team in points and assists per game. If Maryland wants to pull off a win against Michigan State, they’ll need a big game from Cowan and forward Jalen Smith.
Maryland has lost two of their last three games against Michigan State, the good news is they’ve already won on the road, this time they get to host the Spartans.
The Terrapins are just over .500 ATS with a record of 14-13-1, which is much better than the Spartans 12-16 ATS record. Their last ten against the spread record is better as well at 5-4-1. Seven of their last ten have gone under, but with their last game against Michigan State going well under, I’d lean more towards the under.
Pick and Prediction
I feel like the underdogs in this one aren’t really underdogs, the Terrapins have struggled against teams like Minnesota and Ohio State, and the Spartans are a much better team than that. The Spartans are also looking to improve their positioning in these last three games, and a big win over the Terrapins will do just that.
Look for Cassius Winston to come up big again in this one, along with help from Rocket Watts and the Spartans defense to step up. Coach Izzo wasn’t happy with the way the defense performed against Iowa and won’t want to see that kind of play again. Michigan State Spartans +2.5 and take the under.