College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Western Michigan vs. Michigan State: Can Hoggard, Spartans bounce back?
Icon Sportswire/Getty Images. Pictured: A.J. Hoggard
- Michigan State got blown out by Kansas at the Champions Classic and now has to face Western Michigan.
- Sparty's A.J. Hoggard stood out in game one, so Tom Izzo & Co. will be looking for players to help the point guard.
- D.J. James breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.
Western Michigan vs. Michigan State Odds
|Western Michigan Odds|
-109o / -109u
|Michigan State Odds|
-109o / -109u
The Western Michigan Broncos travel to East Lansing to take on Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans, who opened their season with a loss against Kansas at Madison Square Garden.
The Broncos will be fighting an uphill battle as they very well could finish last in the MAC this season. They lost much of their 2020-2021 roster and they were not very strong to begin with.
The Spartans should easily bounce back from their loss to a far better Kansas team, but they may struggle to cover a massive spread without a cohesive unit, yet.
Western Michigan was not very good last year, and it will not be any good in the second year under Clayton Bates either.
Returning guard B. Artis White helps somewhat stabilize the Broncos’ offense this season. Their center and second-best rebounder, Titus Wright, returns as well.
White and Wright didn’t play as much as expected in the opener, as it looks like Bates wanted most of his newcomers racking up minutes against Hope College in their opening game.
Lamar Norman Jr. registered 23 points on Wednesday, while Mileek McMillan, Mack Smith and Markeese Hastings also contributed. All four of them are transfers. White and Wright only played 25 combined minutes, so it’s likely Bates will mix up the lineup this season.
That said, last season, Western Michigan ranked 293rd in offensive rebounding, so McMillan and Hastings can assist Wright in the post. Freshman Owen Lobsinger should be able to give the Broncos a boost too.
Western will have to compete against a team that snagged 37 boards against Kansas in their opener. This could cause issues.
For the last two seasons, the Broncos have played at one of the slowest paces in basketball. They ranked 283rd last year in Adjusted Tempo, per KenPom, and only managed 76 points against Hope College. They tend to hold onto the ball under Bates for as long as possible (18.3 seconds per possession last season).
It does not matter how strong or fast-paced their new additions played before because this looks to be the gameplan with a weak roster. This snail’s pace should keep them within striking distance.
The Spartans will come out guns blazing after losing to Kansas by 13 in the Champion’s Classic. They shot 35% from downtown but only went 9-of-16 from the free throw line. Sure, they could hit a few more of these, but that was not a difference maker.
Losing Josh Langford, Rocket Watts, Foster Loyer and Aaron Henry will hurt early on this season.
Max Christie (five-star recruit) shot 3-of-10 from the field and Tyson Walker (transfer from Northeastern) turned the ball over more than he scored. They will have to do more, otherwise the Spartans will have similar results against high-profile opponents.
On the other hand, A.J. Hoggard stepped up with 17 points off the bench. Marcus Bingham Jr. and Gabe Brown had awesome games, too. Joey Hauser looked like more of a role player with a strong seven boards.
Either way, this Spartans team will take a few games to discover its identity.
Michigan State lost a lot of production from last year’s roster, so it is up to the veterans to take charge. Also, Christie and Walker need to become formidable members of this team quickly.
The Spartans will beat Western Michigan, but they might struggle at some points as they continue to develop their chemistry.
Western Michigan vs. Michigan State Betting Pick
No, Western Michigan is not a juggernaut. The Broncos are far from it, but their pace and newly-added depth in the post could cause some issues for Michigan State.
Sparty is raw, but it has plenty of talent. Once Izzo figures out where Christie and Walker fit into the picture, it will be golden. For now, the Spartans need scorers, and if any of their veterans lag, they need the buckets to come from somewhere else.
Take the Broncos with the points and play it to +22.