Michigan State Spartans vs. Illinois Fighting Illini: NCAA Basketball Free Pick

Michigan State Spartans
(12-5, 6-10 ATS)

Illinois Fighting Illini
(13-5, 9-9 ATS)

When the Michigan State Spartans the Illinois Fighting Illini get together in NCAA basketball betting action, you know that the fireworks are going to be flying all over the place. The two will meet in a nationally televised clash on Tuesday night at Assembly Hall in a game that is sure to capture the attention of those trying to beat the college basketball odds.

The Spartans are very, very lucky to be hanging on to their ranking in the Top 25 in the land, and we are just sort of waiting to see if they are ever going to wake up and smell the roses this season. This was a team that was amongst the favorites to win it all at the start of the year, and it just hasn’t panned out. A pair of OT victories at home might have moved the Spartans to 4-1 this year in Big Ten play, but they know that they are in for a long, long week with games at the Illini and the Purdue Boilermakers. This is where the veteran leadership for Michigan State really has to shine. Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers, Draymond Green, Delvon Roe, Korie Lucious… These are men that all know what it takes to go all the way to the NCAA Tournament finale, and they have all helped MSU win big time games like this one on the road in the past. Yet there just isn’t enough help beyond Lucas, Summers, and Green, who are combining to score 41.7 of the team’s 73.1 points per game this year. Help has to come from somewhere else to win this game, as the top three scorers are not going to be able to carry the load by themselves.

Illinois has been a very simple team to figure out this year for your NCAA basketball picks. At home, the Illini are unstoppable, having beaten both the Wisconsin Badgers and the Northwestern Wildcats. On the road though, they have losses to both the Penn State Nittany Lions and the aforementioned Badgers. They’re on a two game skid right now off of the road, but they are coming home for their biggest week of the entire season with home games against Michigan State and the Ohio State Buckeyes. This is a significantly different type of Illinois team this year. Head Coach Bruce Weber knows that he has a ton of experience at his disposal in spite of the fact that his team did not go the dance last year, and Demetri McCarney is the leader for a very well rounded club. McCarney is averaging a team high in scoring at 16.2 points per game, but there are five other men that are averaging at least 7.5 points per game that can help out. Watch out for Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale in the post, as they two are leading a great rebounding effort at 14.2 boards per game between them.

We aren’t so sure whether the Illini have been playing that poorly because they were on the road or whether they just aren’t all that great. Still, the Spartans are our NCAA basketball pick in this one, as they are due to wake up at some point… right? We hope that Tuesday night is that night in what should prove to be a very close game in which we are going to want whatever points we can get.

College Basketball Free Pick: Michigan State Spartans

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