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Minnesota vs. Michigan State, 02/09/2019 14:00 EDT, Score: 55 - 79

Point Spread: -12½/-109 Michigan State

Sportsbook: PinnacleSports

Result: Win

10* Michigan State (2:00 ET): For the first time in two seasons, Michigan State has lost three in a row. Those losses have come in a variety of uncharacteristic ways, but HC Tom Izzo sounded confident when called Thursday's practice "probably the best I've seen in a while." The bottom line is the Spartans still belong on the short list of Final Four contenders as they are one of only three teams in country (Duke & Virginia are the others) to rank top 10 in both offensive & defensive efficiency. I expect a strong showing from the home team Saturday in East Lansing. Lay the points.

At one point, the Big 10 was thought to have as many as 10 potential NCAA Tournament teams. But conference play has really started to sort out the "pretenders" from the "contenders." One team that I feel belongs in the "pretender" group is Minnesota. Sure, the Gophers are a respectable 6-6 SU vs. Big 10 opposition, but I still wouldn't consider them among the top 50 teams in America. They too are on a losing streak, having dropped two in a row. The officiating didn't seem to do the Golden Gophers any favors (only 13 FT attempts), but the bottom line is they still lost a home game in which they held the opponent to 34.5% from the field (season low for Wisconsin). This was due to Minnesota's own inept shooting (incl 1 of 13 from three-point range) on the heels of blowing a 13-point lead and losing by 10 at Purdue.

Michigan State lost to Purdue on 1/27 in what was their third game in seven nights. That was a 10* ULTIMATE POWER release on Purdue. I also played against them vs. Indiana, an overtime loss (were 8 of 22 from FT line) as 16.5-pt chalk). Then on Tuesday, they were outrebounded badly in a four-point loss to Purdue. Luckily, all of these issues can be corrected and Izzo seems to think they have been. Sparty was due for a "market correction" there, but they are still 16-5 ATS as a favorite this season and 14-3 ATS the L17 times hosting Minnesota. 10* Michigan State

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