WHO: #4 Michigan State Spartans (22-3, 10-2 B1G) | KenPom #6
WHEN: 8:00 PM CT
WHERE: Carver-Hawkeye Arena (Iowa City, IA)
RADIO: Learfield Sports affiliates
ONLINE AUDIO: TuneIn
VEGAS: Michigan State -10.5
Remember the last time Michigan State visited Iowa City for a game? That was fun!
Barring something enormously weird and shocking, this game isn't going to be like that. This game is very likely going to be painful to watch -- if not very, very, very painful to watch. Michigan State is very good -- they're ranked #4 in the country in the traditional polls and #6 in the KenPom rankings. Iowa is down at #103 in the most recent KenPom rankings. The last time Iowa played a team as good as MSU (Purdue a few weeks ago), they got beat 87-64 and the game wasn't even as close as that. ESPN's BPI gives Iowa a 15% chance of winning this game, while KenPom gives Iowa a 17% chance.
This game pits the 12th most efficient offense in the country (MSU) against an Iowa defense that currently ranks 242nd in defensive efficiency. The Spartans are fifth in eFG% (58.9) and are making 41.4% of their 3s and 57.2% of their 2s (both 9th best nationally). Iowa is allowing teams to make... a lot of shots. From everywhere on the court, basically. (They rank in the 200s in defensive field goal percentage for 2s, 3s, and free throws. About the only thing MSU is bad at on offense is turnovers; they're turning the ball over on 20.2% of their possessions, which is 266th in the country. But Iowa is terrible at forcing turnovers (they're generating turnovers on just 16.2% of opponent possessions, 310th nationally), so unless MSU decides to literally hand Iowa the basketball, that stat probably won't matter.
And it turns out Michigan State also has a really good defense! (Turns out there may be some good reasons why they're 22-3!) They're eighth in the country in defensive efficiency and first in defensive eFG% (41.3) and defensive 2FG% (37.0). They're also tops in blocked shots, swatting 20.6% of opponent attempts. So it could be a long day at the office for Iowa's bigs. And Jordan Bohannon is still battling an illness, too, so Iowa's top outside shooter figures to be less effective tonight as well.
On paper, there's no reason whatsoever to expect Iowa to even be close in this game, let alone somehow win it. If Iowa does manage to win this game, it will go down as one of the least probable wins of the McCaffery Era and one of the biggest upsets as well. Do you believe in miracl--er, improbable basketball happenings? Let's hope so.
The usual rules apply.