#5 Iowa Hawkeyes (11-2, 5-1 Big 10) host struggling Michigan State Spartans (8-4, 2-4 Big 10) in a Big 10 Conference battle on Thursday night in Iowa City. Iowa’s elite efficiency coasted the Hawkeyes to an easy revenge victory at home against the Minnesota Gophers this past Sunday.
With the Spartans seemingly back on track after two consecutive wins against Nebraska and a 23-point dismantling of Rutgers, Michigan State blew a 15-point halftime lead at home against Purdue to squander any positive momentum heading into their toughest game of the season.
Michigan State vs Iowa Schedule
- Where: Frank Erwin Special Events Center, Austin, TX
Thursday, January 14, 9:00pm ETPOSTPONED
- How to Watch: ESP2
Michigan State vs Iowa Odds (Vegas)
Michigan State vs Iowa Preview
Hawkeyes New Strategy Against Gophers Pays Off
The Minnesota Gophers bested Iowa 102-95 in OT in Minneapolis on Christmas. Minnesota studied the Gonzaga vs. Iowa game tape and exploited Iowa’s willingness to get into a high-paced 3-point shooting contest which might lead to more transition opportunities. The Hawkeyes finished 10-30 from 3PT range to the Gophers 17-43, and Minnesota managed to pull out the high scoring victory in overtime.
When these teams met for the second time this season on Sunday in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes were ready to slow the game down. Instead of shooting 78 shots as they did against Minnesota in their first matchup, Iowa finished 31-56 from the field which includes 9-14 from 3PT range. Iowa decreased their 3PT output by more than 50%, allowing their offensive possessions to wear down the Gopher defense and create more open shots.
Additionally, the 3PT efficiency allowed the Hawkeyes defense to setup and prevent Minnesota transition offense opportunities. When the Hawkeyes are this efficient, they are top-2 team in the country only behind Gonzaga. Iowa should have no problem dealing with Michigan State this week.
The only worry being that they overlook Michigan State as a horribly bad team, and in the Big 10 Conference, no team can be overlooked. That’s why it’s the best basketball conference in the country by far.
Michigan State Loses Perfect Chance to Get Season in Right Direction
Preseason rankings in college football and basketball annually provide head-scratching situations that inevitable play out during the season.
Top 10 teams’ rankings and results are often misjudged early in the season. For example, as with every year, everyone thought Duke would be a great team based on recruiting and legendary Coach K.
When the Spartans beat Duke 75-69 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in North Carolina, Michigan State was the hot team boosted all the way to #4 in the country. As it turns out, Duke is not as dominant as people believed. The Spartans ended up losing their first three games in Big 10 Conference play handedly after starting the season 6-0. However, the unranked Spartans happened to find a spark at Nebraska to stop the losing streak at three and then destroyed a great Rutgers team.
With an opportunity to carry this into the Iowa game, the Michigan State failed to put Purdue away. At this point, not much hope left in this Spartan season.
Michigan State vs Iowa Pick & Prediction
Our Pick: Iowa Hawkeyes
The Hawkeyes will be way too much for Michigan State to handle. If this game was in East Lansing, I think it’d be much closer to a 10-point win for Iowa but in Iowa City we have the Hawkeyes by 25.
Do not overthink this game, the Hawkeyes are on a win streak since their loss to Minnesota and they have no plans of letting off the gas at this point in the season.