7:03 pm
January 25

#10 Michigan State @ #24 Illinois

Who will WIN this matchup?

#10 Michigan State Spartans (15-3)

@ #24 Illinois Fighting Illini (13-5)


Current odds:

Michigan State Spartans: (+180)

Illinois Fighting Illini: (-210)


• The line for this game is Illini by 4.5 points.

• No. 10 Michigan State became the leader of the pack with an impressive road victory against No. 11 Wisconsin on Friday. The Spartans will try to remain on top of the Big Ten in another road test against No. 24 Illinois on Tuesday night.

• Michigan State beat the Badgers 86-74 in a game it led most of the way. That lifted the Spartans (15-3, 6-1 Big Ten) into first place in the conference standings. Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio State each have two Big Ten losses. The Spartans had been ranked in the Top 10 until losing at home to Northwestern on Jan. 15. They had plenty of time to prepare for their trip to Wisconsin and made the most of it.

• Mission accomplished, due to superior offensive execution. Michigan State shot 52.7 percent from the field and made 22 of 28 free-throw attempts.

• The points were well distributed, with Malik Hall leading the way with 14 points. Christie, Tyson Walker and A.J. Hoggard each had 12 points. Michigan State raced to a 16-point halftime lead. The Badgers got within six points midway through the second half, but the Spartans pulled away again.

• Illinois (13-5, 6-2) has lost its past two games after reeling off six straight victories. The Fighting Illini dropped a double-overtime decision to Purdue, then got blown out by Maryland 81-65 on Friday. The latter loss comes with an asterisk. Illinois’ top player, Kofi Cockburn, missed the game after entering concussion protocol. Maryland’s Donta Scott scored 25 points without Cockburn patrolling the lane.

• Underwood was disappointed his team didn’t show much fire in Cockburn’s absence. It was outscored 44-30 in the second half.

• This will be the first of two regular-season meetings between Michigan State and Illinois. They’ll play again in East Lansing, Mich., on Feb. 19.

StreakSmarter Pick
#24 Illinois Fighting Illini