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Michigan State vs. Iowa Odds, Picks, Predictions: Hawkeyes to Win Transition Battle (Tuesday, February 22)

Michigan State vs. Iowa Odds, Picks, Predictions: Hawkeyes to Win Transition Battle (Tuesday, February 22) article feature image
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Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Keegan Murray (Iowa)

  • After earning its largest victory of the season against Ohio State, Iowa hosts Michigan State in another critical Big Ten duel.
  • The Spartans have fell off of a cliff lately, as they've dropped four out of their last five games.
  • Anthony Dabbundo explains why he doesn't just think the Hawkeyes will win, but will cover the spread.

Michigan State vs. Iowa Odds

Tuesday, Feb. 22
7 p.m. ET
ESPN
Michigan State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+6
-110
153.5
-110o / -110u
+215
Iowa Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-6
-110
153.5
-110o / -110u
-270
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Michigan State is in turmoil as Big Ten plays nears a close. The Spartans have lost four of five and the schedule doesn’t get any easier. MSU is projected to be an underdog in four of its five remaining games, including Tuesday night’s road trip to Iowa.

The Hawkeyes won their first marquee game of the entire season on Saturday at Ohio State, 75-62. Prior to that, the two best wins on the resume were Indiana at home and at Virginia on a buzzer beater.

The predictive metrics like KenPom and Bart Torvik continue to love the Hawkeyes, as they have one of the best offenses in the entire country and do not turn the ball over.

Meanwhile, Michigan State has had major problems operating consistently in the half-court on offense. Without being able to turn over the Hawkeyes, it’s hard to see the Spartans keeping pace offensively in this one.

The spot isn’t great for the Hawkeyes following the biggest win of their season, but the opening 6.5 number still feels short for a very overrated Spartans team that is crashing back down to earth from a regression standpoint.


Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State has dropped four of five games and lost the ShotQuality in all four of the defeats. The Spartans still have more room to fall from a regression point of view — their SQ record is just 13-13 overall — and they continue to struggle to get good shots in the half-court.

Iowa plays at a very fast pace on offense, but it doesn’t allow a ton of transition. For starters, the Hawkeyes have fewer turnovers than any team in the country. It’s also difficult to run on them because the Hawkeyes’ defense is 337th in average defensive possession length.

The Spartans operate in the half-court at a very low frequency, but as shown in the losses to Wisconsin and Penn State in the last week, they’re not very efficient there. The offense is 200th in the nation, per ShotQuality, at generating good looks and the turnover numbers have skyrocketed recently.

Now, MSU is outside the top 250 in offensive turnover percentage, and this offense is being saved by unsustainably good 3-point shooting. The Spartans are somehow ninth in the country in 3-point percentage on offense despite pretty average looks in general.

Both Tyson Walker and Malik Hall have made more than half of their 3s attempted this season. Neither has ever finished above 36% for an entire season. When they inevitably regress, the Michigan State offense will fall even further in efficiency.


Iowa Hawkeyes

The Hawkeyes have a real opportunity to run out in transition on offense. They have a chance to punish the Spartans’ defense with easy open 3s and with Keegan Murray in the post.

Iowa runs out in transition at a top-20 frequency, but unlike Michigan State, the Hawkeyes should get more opportunities to do that in this game.

Iowa is also more efficient offensively when in transition. The Hawkeyes rank 26th in transition SQ and are a top-10 offense in the post-up and finishing at the rim.

The Hawkeyes have struggled to make shots this year — just 33% from deep in the conference from 3 — but they showed against Maryland that they can get hot at any time.

The Spartans’ defense is quite good in the half-court, but the efficiency falls off of a cliff when forced to defend transition. Michigan State is a top-75 defense in the half-court, but ranks 327th in transition.

The Spartans especially concede a lot of open 3s in transition, so it could be easy for Iowa to finally show some positive shooting regression.

Murray should also be successful in the post, where the Spartans are outside the top-100 defensively in guarding post-ups.

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Michigan State vs. Iowa Betting Pick

The spot isn’t good at all for Iowa following its biggest win of the season and with the Spartans losing four or five. But the matchup skews heavily toward the Hawkeyes, especially with their ability to dominate the transition moments.

Iowa will generate more turnovers, will run in transition more and is much more efficient offensively than the Spartans.

Despite their struggles, Michigan State is still being carried by unsustainable shooting splits at both ends of the 3-point variance. Its offense will cool off from deep and once that happens, I don’t think we’ve come close to the floor for the Spartans in the conference.

I wouldn’t lay more than seven in this spot because Iowa gets too expensive after that, but Murray should dominate the interior and Iowa should control both pace and tempo with its elite offense.

Pick: Iowa -7 or better

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