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1/24 Big Ten Preview & Open Thread: Hawkeyes Host Spartans in Thursday Showdown

Tonight’s only Big Ten game is a showdown between two top 20 teams.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten only has one game tonight with the 19th ranked Iowa Hawkeyes set to host the 6th ranked Michigan State Spartans in what should be an exciting showdown in Iowa City.

Game of the Day

No. 6 Michigan State Spartans at No. 19 Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM (FS1)
  • Spread: Michigan State (-5.5)

Iowa got off to a rough start in conference play, losing to Wisconsin and Michigan State in December and then starting off 2019 with a road loss to Purdue. Since then the Hawkeyes have won five straight, including games against (at the time) ranked Nebraska and Ohio State. The Hawkeyes will look to keep their hot streak going against a Michigan State team that hasn’t lost a conference game this season and is currently riding a 12 game winning streak.

Tonight’s game will continue a tough stretch for the Spartans that includes a road trip to Purdue and a home game against Indiana up next. The Spartans currently hold a one game lead over Michigan and will play the Wolverines twice later on, but winning tonight could be huge down the line as there’s little separation between both Michigan programs and a 7-2 Maryland.

The last time these two teams faced off the Spartans dismantled Iowa in East Lansing, beating the Hawkeyes by 22. This time Michigan State will have to try to replicate that success on the road and without Joshua Langford. While not having Langford is definitely a loss for the Spartans, it hasn’t stopped Michigan State from rolling the last six Big Ten games, winning by an average of 14.7 points per game over that stretch.

That shouldn’t be a huge surprise as the Spartans offense has been rolling all season, averaging 83.8 points per game and shooting 49.9% from the field (ninth in the nation). While they are without Langford, they still have Cassius Winston and Nick Ward lighting up the scoreboard and will have Matt McQuaid this time around. It’ll be a considerable challenge for an Iowa defense that has struggled immensely this season, even if it’s improved a decent amount from last seasons disaster.

Iowa has plenty of offensive firepower, with five starters averaging at least 10 points per game, but the question is if they’ll be able to do enough defensively to keep pace with Michigan State. While the Hawkeyes will have the home field advantage tonight, it’s hard to pick against the Spartans. It should be close, but Michigan State should find a way to pull out the W tonight.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Michigan State