Spartans & Fighting Illini Looking to Stay in Big Ten Hunt
A pair of teams trying to get back to first place in the Big Ten square off on Tuesday night when the Michigan State Spartans visit the No. 23 Illinois Fighting Illini.
It’s been an incredible season of college basketball so far. New teams are coming into the light to challenge the top, and some old dogs are still defending their crowns.
TIME: 9 pm ET. TV: ESPN; LINE: Michigan State -2; O/U: 141
The Big Ten has been one of the most impressive conferences this season, with turmoil nearly every week because of the talent of every team.
These teams have been atop the Big Ten standings all season long and continue to prove why they are the best in the conference.
They are actually both coming off of back-to-back losses, so they are reeling a bit at this point in the season.
Michigan State is down to a tie for fourth place in the Big Ten standings, with Illinois is right ahead of them, tied for second place with Penn State.
This game has strong implications for the end of the year and could seriously boost one of these teams’ resumes for March Madness.
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Fighting Illini Hoping For Better Results
When these two teams met at the beginning of conference play, it really was no contest, with the Spartans winning by 20.
This was well before Illinois’ run, where it won seven Big Ten games in a row, vaulting it to the top of the standings.
The guard play from Trent Frazier and Ayo Dosunmu has been the reason for all of the Fighting Illini‘s success.
With such a talented, dynamic duo running the offense, it’s no wonder why the Illini became one of the better teams in the country.
But after losing to Iowa and Maryland, though, it’s starting to become a question whether or not they can maintain consistency.
The Illini’s talent is second to none, but at times, they can get a little bit out of control. Being frisky can either be the best thing for a team or its worst enemy.
As for the Spartans, they have found themselves at rock bottom. They are 2-4 in their last six games and have lost three straight.
One of their biggest problems is finding quality bench play. It’s hard to predict who is going to come off the bench and be a strong contributor on any given night.
They still have Tom Izzo as a head coach and one of the best senior leaders in the country in Cassius Winston.
With these two steering the ship with all of their experience, the Spartans should be just fine by the end of the year.
This, That and a College Basketball Dart Throw
Like I mentioned earlier, the last time these two teams met, it was over before it started. Michigan State came out blitzing Illinois, and the Fighting Illini never stood a chance.
But that was over a month ago, and right now these two teams are going to be fighting to stay close to first place in the conference.
Winston will be fired up and ready to go, and it will be a great matchup on the floor between him and Dosunmu.
I would really love to see Kofi Cockburn get going for Illinois in this game because I think he can really be an X-factor.
Our friends over at VietBet have Michigan State favored in this one at -2 and the total is at 141. All U.S. players are accepted at VietBet.
Even with the line being what it is, I think Michigan State has some more issues to work out than people realize.
Illinois will be at home, and it will be ready to show out for its home crowd. Expect a packed house in Champaign and expect a Fighting Illini victory.
The Dart Throw: Illinois Fighting Illini +2