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How and what to watch for in Michigan-Michigan State

The long-time rivals square off in Lansing on Sunday. Collin Sherwin breaks down keys to the game and offers up a best bet.

Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo listens to Michigan State Spartans guard Foster Loyer during the second half of a game at the Breslin Center. Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

In the first big-time Big Ten Conference match-up of 2020, #12 Michigan takes on #14 Michigan State on Sunday live in Lansing. Two Top 20 teams in a rivalry game usually means fun basketball, and I’ve heard rumors these two teams have some history and might not like each other! Let’s dive deep like a Tom Izzo bubble drill with the best game on the board today.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

Michigan-Michigan State will air on CBS at 1:30 p.m. EST live from the Breslin Center in Lansing, Michigan. There is no online stream planned for the game.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Spread: Michigan State -8 (opened -9)
Total: 143.5
Money Line: N/A

Former Fab Five legend and rookie head coach Juwan Howard takes the Wolverines to the Izzone for what should be a good one, and also his first big rivalry game in charge at any level of basketball. Led by 7’1 senior center Jon Teske (14.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg), Michigan likes to play inside-out basketball, and it’s effective with their 1.16 points per possession putting them 16th in the NCAA this season.

Big Blue is 8-5 ATS this season, but 0-2 on the road overall and 0-3 against major conference teams since December straight up as well as against the number. A groin injury to second-leading scorer Isaiah Livers (13.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg) also leaves the road team at a disadvantage, especially against the physical defense of the Spartans.

Michigan State goes as senior point guard Cassius Winston goes (17.8 ppg, 6.1 apg), but the battle between Teske and forward Xavier Tillman (13.5 ppg, 9.7 rpg) is the one to to watch: whomever can control the glass and the block likely emerges the winner.

The Pick: Michigan State -8

Death, taxes, and Tom Izzo after the calendar changes. If any team can match up with Michigan’s back court depth and post presence, it’s the deep rotation and waves of big bodies in the front court for Sparty. The Izzone will spell blood in the water as “little brother,” and we’re right on track for the annual Michigan State Final Four “Sleeper Pick” by national hoops writers on the third Sunday in March.

Give me MSU in a rout, but let’s also not write off a good Wolverines team this season either: they can still win the conference and much more if they get healthy and find their early-season form again. It just won’t be today.