The Michigan State Spartans look to get its first road win of the season against an improving Maryland squad. Who will win this Big Ten matchup?
TV schedule: Sunday, January 21st, noon, CBS
Arena: XFINITY Center in College Park, Maryland
After two losses on the road, Michigan State (11-7, 3-4 Big Ten) bounced back nicely in the past week, getting two straight home wins. The latest one came in a 76-66 win over Minnesota, led by 21 points from Tyson Walker and 16 points and 12 rebounds from Malik Hall.
The Spartans have recovered from their early-season slumps to get back on the bubble but they have plenty of work to do. And that starts with winning some road games. The team is 0-3 in those games, having lost to Northwestern, Illinois, and Nebraska. And with Wisconsin up next on the road, this looming battle with Maryland is incredibly important.
The Terrapins are another preseason disappointment in the Big Ten but have also improved as of late. They beat Illinois and Michigan in back-to-back games, before falling to Northwestern on the road by three points, 72-69. That was despite guard Jahmir Young going off for a season-high 36 points on 12/19 shooting.
Maryland (11-7, 3-4 Big Ten) is further behind Michigan State when it comes to Bracketology and has a lot of work to do to even get back on the bubble. But when Young and Julian Reese have big games, they'll be in position to try and get the upset. At home, they're going to be expected to beat the Spartans.
Michigan State has its own star guard to combat Young in Walker so this game may ultimately come down to which supporting cast plays better. Even though both teams are improved, I'm going to give them a slight edge in this matchup, which could go down to the wire.
Prediction: Michigan State 70, Maryland 66