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Spartans, Wolverines clash

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Sportsbook.ag College Basketball Game of Day

MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (22-6) at MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (23-5)

Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Michigan -4.5 & 132.5

After a stunning loss at Penn State on Wednesday, No. 4 Michigan tries to get back in the win column Sunday in a showdown with in-state rival No. 9 Michigan.

In addition to trying to redeem themselves after losing to a 13-point underdog, the Wolverines are also aiming to avenge a 75-52 blowout loss in East Lansing two weeks ago when the Spartans outshot them 48.4% FG to 39.6% FG and outrebounded them by a hefty 40-28 margin. Michigan finished the month of February with a 3-4 SU record and a dismal 1-6 ATS mark. MSU has also been struggling since beating the Wolverines, going 0-2-1 ATS, and losing back-to-back games to Indiana and Ohio State. The Spartans are 14-6 SU in the past 20 meetings with Michigan, but the Wolverines are 10-10 ATS during this span with three SU wins in the past five matchups. This game will likely be low-scoring, as the Under is 12-3 (80%) in this series since 2005.

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Michigan State is not a team that wins with a fast-paced offense (69.6 PPG, 53.3 FGA per game), but it doesn't take many bad shots, connecting on 46.8% FG and 34.7% threes. The Spartans drain only 5.0 threes per game, but they always work hard on the glass (+7.0 RPG margin) and their defense produces 8.3 steals per game. MSU is one of the tougher teams to score on in the nation, as it allows a mere 59.9 PPG on 39.3% FG and 31.8% threes this season. Junior PG Keith Appling (13.4 PPG, 3.8 APG) is a solid floor general with a 1.54 Ast/TO ratio and 1.4 SPG on the defensive end, but his offense has been lagging this season with 40.5% FG and 31.6% threes. His 2-for-14 shooting (0-for-6 threes) over the past two games is a big reason why Michigan State lost both contests. Appling has averaged 10.3 PPG in his past four meetings with Michigan, but made just 4-of-14 shots (1-for-6 threes) on Feb. 12. Swingman Branden Dawson (10.4 PPG, 6.0 RPG) scored 10 points in that win over Michigan, but has just 6.7 PPG and 3.7 PPG in three games since. Junior PF Adreian Payne (9.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG) has been outstanding in these past three games with 14.7 PPG (58% FG) and 12.0 RPG, but was a non-factor in the win over Michigan with four points in 30 minutes. Freshman SG Gary Harris (13.2 PPG) scored a team-high 17 points (5-of-9 threes) in the win over the Wolverines, which started a four-game streak of 14+ points. He's averaging 16.0 PPG on 54% FG over these four contests and dished out five assists in Sunday's loss in Columbus. Senior C Derrick Nix (9.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG) has given Michigan fits in the past two seasons with 11.0 PPG on 58% FG in three meetings. He's also averaged 12.8 PPG on 53% FG in his past five contests.

Michigan boasts an impressive offense that scores 76.0 PPG on a blistering 49.5% FG (6th in D-I) and 39.3% threes (16th in nation). Another big reason the Wolverines are so efficient on offense is because they have the 3rd-best Ast/TO ratio in the nation (1.53), thanks to a mere 9.7 TOPG (3rd-fewest in D-I). They also commit the 2nd-fewest fouls (12.5 per game) in the country, which makes up for a lack of depth, especially in the backcourt. But the conservative defense also leads to a mere 5.8 SPG and 2.6 BPG. In Wednesday's upset loss, Michigan outshot (52% FG to 47% FG) and outrebounded (37-27) Penn State, but also committed six more turnovers (15 to 9) and allowed the Nittany Lions to make 10-of-20 threes. Michigan's offense is fueled by its outstanding backcourt of PG Trey Burke (18.8 PPG, 6.9 APG) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (15.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG). Both players shoot 46% or better from the floor, with Hardaway Jr. draining 40% of his three-point tries and Burke leading the nation with a 3.57 Ast/TO ratio. Burke has scored at least 15 points in each of his past 16 games, including 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting in the loss in East Lansing. Although Burke also scored 18 points on Wednesday, he committed a season-high six turnovers in the loss at Penn State. Hardaway has been horrible in the past three meetings with MSU, scoring only 5.3 PPG on 5-of-30 FG, including 0-for-12 from three-point land. Two weeks ago in East Lansing, he made 1-of-11 shots and finished with two points. Hardaway did play well in Happy Valley though, with 19 points (8-of-16 FG) and seven rebounds. Freshman F/G Nik Stauskas (11.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG) continues to be a key player for this team, coming off a solid 12 points (5-of-9 FG) and eight rebounds in Wednesday's loss. He scored 10 points in the earlier meeting with Michigan State. Freshman F Glenn Robinson III (11.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG) recorded just two points (1-of-4 FG) against the Spartans, but has averaged 13.0 PPG and 6.3 RPG in three games since. But fellow freshman PF Mitch McGary (6.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG) has been struggling recently with just 3.5 PPG and 3.0 RPG in the past four games. He logged only eight minutes in Wednesday's loss. Junior PF Jordan Morgan (5.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG) was the team's most effective frontcourt player against Penn State with 11 points (5-of-6 FG) and five rebounds in 24 minutes. Morgan had only one point and two rebounds in nine minutes of action in East Lansing.

  
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