Michigan State will head to West Lafayette on Saturday to take on a Purdue team that is closing in on the Big Ten regular season title.

The Spartans are coming into this game having lost each of their last 2 contests. Purdue, on the other hand, has a 25-3 record and has been one of the best teams in college basketball all season.

Here’s a look at the matchup between these Big Ten giants:

Michigan State vs. Purdue Betting Odds

Spread: Purdue -10.5 (FanDuel)

Total: Over/Under 145.5 points (FanDuel)

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Betting trends to know for Michigan State

Michigan State is…

  • 15-12-1 against the spread
  • 3-4-1 against the spread on the road
  • 1-3-1 against the spread as an underdog
  • 8-8-1 against the spread in Big Ten games

Betting trends to know for Purdue 

Purdue  is…

  • 15-11-2 against the spread
  • 14-11-2 against the spread as a favorite
  • 7-6-1 against the spread at home
  • 8-9 against the spread in Big Ten games

3 notes for the game

Michigan State has lost 2 in a row

Maybe flipping the calendar to March will be a boost for this Spartans team (as it often has been under Tom Izzo), but late February was cruel to Michigan State. The Spartans lost their final 2 games of the month to Iowa and Ohio State. Dropping those winnable contests in East Lansing has significantly hurt their chances of earning a high seed in the Big Ten Tournament. More importantly, it’s a bad omen for Michigan State as it prepares to face perhaps the nation’s best team in Purdue. 

It hasn’t been just one issue for Michigan State. Against Iowa, the Spartans struggled defensively as they allowed the Hawkeyes to score 1.2 points per possession. In the Ohio State game, the Buckeyes held Michigan State to just 22-of-55 (40%) from the field. Michigan State scored just 0.91 points per possession in that game, representing a new season-low. Michigan State will need to sort things out quickly if it wants to hang around with Purdue on Saturday night.

There is one stylistic concern for Michigan State in this game: 3-point defense. The Spartans give up a ton of 3-point attempts (320th nationally in 3-point attempt rate), which is not a good strategy when going against Purdue. The Boilermakers are one of a handful of teams nationally who make more than 40% of their long-range efforts.

Purdue has been rolling, but the defense does have some concerns

Purdue is 25-3 this season but that doesn’t mean the Boilermakers don’t have some issues they need to address. Specifically on the defensive end, they were mediocre-at-best on that end of the floor during the second-half of February. 

From Feb. 15 through the end of the month, Purdue allowed teams to score at least 1.01 points per possession in 4 straight contests. That’s hardly a disqualifying number — but it has been Purdue’s roughest defensive stretch of the season when adjusting for opponent strength. Per BartTorvik, Purdue’s defense ranks 197th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. That’s too small of a sample size to draw any conclusions about Purdue’s title hopes, but it’s something to keep an eye on in this matchup against a Michigan State team that will be desperate for a big performance.

Is regression coming for either of these teams?

Despite the losses, it is worth noting that Michigan State’s opponent-adjusted net ratings vs. Iowa and Ohio State are far from alarming. Against the Hawkeyes, those numbers are 108 for offense and 108.7 for defense (both average outputs). Against the Buckeyes, they posted a 97.6 on offense and an 86.4 rating on defense (the defensive number there is quite good). That doesn’t ease any of the pain from those losses, but it’s a pretty good indication that the Spartans haven’t been as bad as it may appear over the last week.

The numbers from ShotQuality would argue that Michigan State has been unlucky all season. The Spartans have an expected record of 20-8 for the year — 3 full wins more than their actual total. ShotQuality pegs Michigan State as the No. 15 team in the country entering Saturday’s slate.

On the other end of the spectrum is Purdue. The Boilermakers have been the “luckiest” team in the Big Ten this year, per ShotQuality’s metrics. The model projections Purdue to have a record of 20-8 — just like Michigan State.

1 pick for this game

Purdue -10.5. The ShotQuality numbers are compelling, but not compelling enough to ignore Purdue’s clear matchup advantages in this game. There’s also this — Michigan State hasn’t beaten the number in West Lafayette since 2016. They’re 0-5 against the spread in road games at Purdue over that span, including a couple of games where they were 8+ point underdogs. Zach Edey scored 30+ points in both of Purdue’s matchups vs. the Spartans a year ago, so he could be in for another big day as well.