There’s a pair of games tonight, with Indiana hosting Iowa in the early game and Michigan State heading out to Nebraska for the late round. Let’s take a look at the upcoming action.
Game of the Night
Iowa Hawkeyes at #15 Indiana Hoosiers
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET ESPN2
- Line: Indiana -5.5
In the main game tonight Indiana hosts Iowa in a big game for two teams fighting for a double bye heading into the Big Ten Tournament. Indiana is currently tied with four teams at 11-7 for second through fifth place, while Iowa is a game out in their own three way tie at 10-8. Both teams need a win tonight or they could get shuffled out and have to play on Thursday.
Both teams are coming in on emotional highs, with Indiana knocking off their rival and Iowa having an improbable comeback to knock off Michigan State. With Sunday’s game against Michigan also taking place in Bloomington, this won’t be Indiana’s Senior Night.
Over the past couple weeks the Hoosiers have followed up wins with losses, following their Michigan road win with a loss at Northwestern and then losing to Michigan State after beating Illinois. Coming down from a emotional rivalry game will likely open them up to that possibility once again. They had a big night from Jalen Hood-Schifino against Purdue, making up for an almost non-existent performance from Trayce Jackson-Davis that normally would have guaranteed a loss for the Hoosiers. Indiana’s supporting cast has been better this year, even if Hood-Schifino has been a bit feast or famine this season.
Iowa’s comeback win against Michigan State was a big one after a two game skid at Northwestern and Wisconsin. That two game skid came on the heels of a 5-1 run that saw them only losing once on the road to the top ranked team in the country. Iowa got off to a rough start but has been rolling down the stretch, even if the defense still hasn’t shown much in the form of improvement. The last time these teams played Indiana was also ranked 15th and the Hawkeyes ended up winning their first conference game of the year, getting their season back on track.
Both of these teams have plenty of playmakers on offense but will either play much defense? Probably not, so it’s safe to expect a shoot out between both schools tonight. Iowa takes advantage of Indiana coming back down from their Purdue win and steals one on the road.
Michigan State Spartans at Nebraska Cornhuskers
- Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET BTN
- Line: Michigan State -3.5
In the late game tonight Michigan State looks for better luck on the road against Nebraska. In their last game against Iowa the Spartans shot almost 60% from the field, 73.3% (!) from three, scored over a 100 points, held a double digit lead heading into the final minute and still ended up losing. Wild.
Tonight they face a hot Nebraska team that has beaten Wisconsin, Rutgers, Maryland and Minnesota on their way to an 8-10 record in conference play and hands down their best run with Fred Hoiberg as head coach. If they win out they could finish the season with a .500 record in conference play and a winning record overall.
That’ll be a difficult task if Michigan State can keep some level of their offensive explosion going tonight. The Spartans are the better team both talent wise and defensively, but their offensive lapses at times has kept them open to losing on any given night. The emergence of Keisei Tominaga from the perimeter alongside Derrick Walker and Sam Grisel has formed a surprisingly formidable Cornhusker offense, even better on their home court.
Michigan State is firmly in the tournament but they really could use a win (or two) to close out the season. They’re still vying for a double bye but with the Minnesota game not likely to be made up, will likely miss out on a win that could prove detrimental. You would think Tom Izzo’s program comes out focused tonight and locks down enough on defense to find a way to sneak out a win against a recently surging Nebraska team.
Pick: Michigan State