NCAA: It’s the Battle of Michigan as struggling Wolverines face Michigan State.

NCAA Basketball Sports News


  • Michigan is 7-13 and has endured a season of turmoil connected to head coach Juwan Howard. They’ve lost eight of their last nine games.
  • Michigan State is 12-8 and is trying to keep its streak alive of 25 straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
  • Tipoff is 9 p.m. in East Lansing. The Wolverines have won four of the last seven meetings.

For Michigan, it could be a season-changing victory, while Michigan State can’t afford many more Ls on their quest to get back to the NCAA Tournament.

Sports bettors in Michigan know there’s nothing like the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry, and the two schools meet Tuesday for the first time this season. They will meet again in Ann Arbor on Feb. 17. DraftKings and BetMGM will have full point spreads on the game posted about 24 hours before tip.

While the Wolverines have struggled this season, they have had the Spartans number lately. State is in a logjam of four teams at 4-5 in the Big Ten, while Michigan is 2-7 in the conference and in last place.

What Do the Numbers Say? 

State is 10-2 at home and 10-9-1 against the spread this season. They’ve won three of their last four games, beating Rutgers, Minnesota and Maryland, but they were severely outclassed by first-place Wisconsin 81-66 over the weekend.

State ranks No. 1 in the Big Ten allowing 66 points per game, but that number is a bit deceiving because it counts non-conference games. State scores 75.7 a game.

Michigan ranks last in the Big Ten allowing 79.2 points a game, and is fourth in the Big Ten in scoring at 78.7, but they won’t be 100 percent Tuesday night. It’s been that kind of season in Ann Arbor.

The last five games between these two schools have been decided by an average of 11.4 points.

Troubles in Michigan 

Michigan head coach Juwan Howard missed the start of the season after heart surgery, and then came under school investigation for a reported altercation with strength and conditioning coach Jon Sanderson. He was absolved of any blame.

Michigan took the rare step of suspending standout PG Dug McDaniel for six road games for academic reasons. McDaniel leads the Wolverines in scoring at 17.2 a game, but won’t make the trip to East Lansing.

The Wolverines 32-point loss to Purdue last week was the program’s worst loss in 17 years.

It’s the type of year where former Michigan star players are being critical of the program on social media and Michigan AD Warde Manuel had to answer questions about Howard during the press conference to introduce new football coach Sherrone Moore.

A Flawed State 

Things haven’t been great in East Lansing either. Coach Tom Izzo’s team has shown the ability to beat non-conference powers, but is inconsistent.

There 25-year streak of making the NCAA Tournament appears safe - for now. On his last tournament projection on ESPN, Joe Lunardi had the Spartans the sixth and final Big 10 team in. But State may need to get to 18 wins and a victory in the conference tournament to get in. 

State has four players averaging in double figures, led by Tyson Walker who puts in 19.3 a night, but defensive the Spartans have struggled with interior defense and don’t shoot from the outside very well. They need to play great defense each night to have a chance.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.