Purdue has its sights set on a national championship this season, and for good reason. But first, the Boilermakers are looking to lock down a Big Ten regular season title and a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
To do the former, they will need to successfully navigate two tough road trips in four days. First up, they visit East Lansing to face Michigan State, then go to Madison to take on Wisconsin, who is also 13-4 in Big Ten play but won in West Lafayette in January.
While the Boilermakers are eyeing a Big Ten title, a #1 seed, and much more, the Spartans are in the midst of a pretty rough run. Entering their matchup with Purdue, Michigan State has dropped five of its past six games. In notable March Madness bracket projections at CBS and ESPN, Tom Izzo’s team has dropped to a #7 seed.
Will Michigan State pull the upset and start a turnaround just in time for the postseason? Or will Purdue move one step closer to the program’s fourth Big Ten regular season title under Matt Painter?
Purdue vs. Michigan State College Basketball Matchup Info and Betting Odds
- Game Matchup: #4 AP/#7 CP Purdue Boilermakers (24-4, 13-4 Big Ten, t-1st in the Big Ten) vs. #24 CP Michigan State Spartans (18-8, 9-7 Big Ten, t-6th in the Big Ten)
- Venue & Location: Breslin Center (East Lansing, Michigan)
- Date: Saturday, February 26, 2022
- Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Spread: Purdue -4.5 (-110), Michigan State +4.5 (-110)
- Total: OVER 146.5 (-110), UNDER 146.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: Purdue -200, Michigan State +165
Odds are via BetMGM.
Can Michigan State Stop the Bleeding Against Purdue?
Over their past six games, Michigan State’s only victory is a home win over Indiana, which is 2-6 on the road in Big Ten play and just came out of a five-game losing skid.
There isn’t much shame in this past Saturday’s home loss to Illinois. The Illini have the potential and talent for a deep March Madness run. But the same can’t be said for Tuesday’s performance in Iowa City, as they were blown away 86-60 by Iowa.
The Hawkeyes have won six of seven and lead the Big Ten in scoring, ahead of Purdue. And Carver-Hawkeye Arena is a tough place to play.
But Iowa took control in the first few minutes, and Michigan State spent the last 30 minutes trailing by double digits.
The Spartans did make a few attempts to rally in the second half and pulled within 63-49 with 11:37 left. But Iowa’s twin duo of Keegan and Kris Murray went on a 12-0 run by themselves over the next two and a half minutes, and that was that. Had Iowa not decided to coast to the finish from that point, they could very well have put up 100.
Is there anything positive to take from their loss to Iowa? Well, it ended. That’s about it.
So, can Michigan State somehow, someway put that loss behind them to challenge Purdue?
Well, to state the obvious, they need to step it up on the offensive end. Tuesday’s loss marked the seventh time that the Spartans scored 65 or fewer points in their past 11 games.
Better results on that end start with better performances by senior Gabe Brown and freshman Max Christie, who are supposed to be two of their top producers.
Here’s a look at how Brown and Christie have fared recently.
Past Five Games for Gabe Brown
- Points Per Game: 3.8
- Field Goal Percentage: 18.8% (6 of 32)
- Three-Point Field Goal Percentage: 14.3% (3 of 21)
Against Iowa, Brown missed all seven of his shots from the field, including all five three-point attempts, and went scoreless in 19 minutes. It was the second time Michigan State’s leading scorer was held scoreless in his past five games.
For Christie, his slump started with Michigan State’s 65-63 win at Maryland on Feb. 1. He has scored in double figures only once in his past seven games.
Past Seven Games for Max Christie
- Points Per Game: 7.1
- Field Goal Percentage: 28.3% (17 of 60)
- Three-Point Field Goal Percentage: 13.6% (3 of 22)
Players go through slumps. It happens to even the best of the best, whatever the sport. And in Christie’s case, many freshmen, no matter how talented, will hit a bad patch at some point.
But Michigan State can’t beat Purdue or make any noise in March other than a whimper without their top threats contributing.
It might not hurt to try to direct more meaningful opportunities to Marcus Bingham Jr, Malik Hall, and Tyson Walker. Bingham has made 50 percent or better from the field in 19 of 26 games this season, and he was 4 of 7 with eight points and six boards in 13 minutes against Iowa.
Hall, meanwhile, has made 50 percent or better from the field in 15 of his 27 games. He was 7 of 11 with 17 points and five rebounds in 23 minutes against Iowa.
Walker was 10 of 12 (and 3 of 3 from three and from the free-throw line) with 26 points and five assists against Illinois. He followed that with nine points, four rebounds, and five assists against Iowa.
Walker averaged 18.8 PPG and 4.8 APG at Northeastern this past season and is heating up recently. In his past four games, he has made 64.7 percent (22 of 34) of his shots, including nine of 14 from outside, and he has 14 assists in his past three games.
There’s still the matter of making enough stops, which they didn’t do against either Illinois or Iowa. But shot making certainly lessens the pressure on the other end.
Purdue vs. Michigan State Basketball Prediction and Picks
Purdue 81, Michigan State 69 (Purdue -4.5 & OVER 146.5)
It’s dangerous to doubt a Tom Izzo team at any point, including this one. However, their recent results are pretty uninspiring, to say the least. Are they going to be that much better against Purdue than they were against Iowa, to the point that they will have a chance to win?
I just don’t see it, especially with the opposition that they are going up against. Yes, the Boilermakers were blown out at Michigan a couple of weeks ago and weren’t spectacular in wins over Maryland and Northwestern.
But I’d venture to say that the Boilers’ good is better than Sparty’s best at present. And we have often seen good or great from Purdue in Big Ten play and throughout this season. They average 82.2 points per game and have hit the 80-point mark 18 times this season, including nine of their past 13 conference games.
They won’t necessarily need to hit 80 to beat Michigan State, but they have too many threats for a struggling team to handle. If Jaden Ivey–who has made 17.1 percent (6 of 35) of his threes in his past seven games–starts warming up from outside against a team that has allowed 30 threes in its past three games, this one could be done and dusted early.
Look for Ivey and Purdue to extend Michigan State’s miserable month ahead of the Boilermakers’ titanic Tuesday’s trip to conference co-leaders Wisconsin.