Purdue guard Eric Hunter Jr. (2) drives against Notre Dame in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. . (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
- The No. 23 Michigan State Spartans (8-3, 2-3 Big Ten), fresh off a rousing 68-45 home win over No. 15 Rutgers Tuesday, host the Purdue Boilermakers (7-5, 2-3 Big Ten) Friday, Jan. 8, at 7:00 pm ET
- Sparty got a big game from Aaron Henry in the win over Rutgers, while Purdue had its scheduled Tuesday game against Nebraska postponed and lost to Illinois 66-58 in its last game Saturday
- Read below for odds, analysis, and our best bet for this matchup
The No. 23 Michigan State Spartans (8-3, 2-3 Big Ten) will try to extend their conference win streak to three Friday, Jan. 8 when they host the Purdue Boilermakers (7-5, 2-3 Big Ten) Tip is set for 7:00 p.m. ET at the Breslin Center.
Purdue vs #23 Michigan State Odds
|Purdue||+4.5 (-110)||+172||Ov 142.5 (-112)|
|Michigan State||-4.5 (-110)||-205||Un 142.5 (-108)|
Odds taken Jan. 7 at FanDuel.
Junior forward Aaron Henry helped deliver a second-straight Big Ten win for head coach Tom Izzo’s club Tuesday. The Indianapolis native put up 20 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and two steals in the 23-point victory over Rutgers. Sparty seems to have put a bumpy start to conference play — which included three straight losses to Northwestern, Wisconsin and Minnesota — behind them.
Meanwhile, Matt Painter’s squad got beat at its own game the last time out. The Boilermakers are the 17th-best rebounding team in the country, averaging nearly 37 per game — but then-No. 15 Illinois outrebounded Purdue 39-33 Saturday in an eight-point loss in Champaign. Then, the Boilers had their game against the Cornhuskers postponed this week out of an abundance of caution relating to coronavirus issues. Now, MSU is a solid favorite at home to send a rested Purdue group back to West Lafayette with another loss.
Izzo was effusive in praising his junior forward after the game Tuesday.
“He did the job for us, which the best players are supposed to do,” the Hall of Fame coach said. “What I liked about him is, he was efficient. Aaron saved us a little bit.”
Henry’s 20-point night was his second-straight outing reaching at least that total. He has scored in double figures in ten straight games and is the team’s leading scorer at 14 points per a game (one of three Spartans averaging in double-digits). If would figure if Henry is able to get loose against Purdue, the Boilermakers will be hard-pressed to earn a victory.
His play against the Scarlet Knights caught the attention of a certain MSU alum.
Whoever draft Aaron Henry next year will get a really good wing that will be ready to play immediately. Incredible feel and defender.
— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) January 6, 2021
One of the key factors in Henry’s recent play — as noted by Izzo — has been his efficiency. He’s shot 62-percent in the last few games by creating high-percentage looks in transition and not settling for bad shots. All this bodes well for the Spartans’ long-term prospects.
2021 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Odds Tracker
Interestingly, Purdue is rated slightly higher by KenPom (No. 36 vs. No. 40) than Michigan State entering Friday’s contest. And over the last three NCAA Tournaments, it’s Painter’s program — not Izzo’s — that has played on the second weekend all three times. But the 2020-21 campaign has been up-and-down so far for the Boilermakers.
While Purude has a victory over a top-20 team on its ledger — the Boilers beat then-No. 20 Ohio State 67-60 Dec. 16 in the conference lid-lifter — this team has also lost to a second-tier ACC team in Miami and had to sweat out a 73-70 home win over Maryland on Christmas Day.
Meantime, while junior forward Trevion Williams is averaging nearly a double-double through 12 games(14.1 points, 9.6 rebounds per game), turnovers have cost Purdue in games away from Mackey Arena. The team committed 14 against Illinois and its chance to get healthy back home against Nebraska this week was taken away because of Husker COVID concerns.
𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐘 𝐑𝐄𝐀𝐃𝐘. pic.twitter.com/PgP1eM785m
— Purdue Mens Basketball (@BoilerBall) January 5, 2021
Purdue will now wind up playing four straight road games, perhaps for the first time ever. If the rested, but road-weary Boilermakers fall again, it would not be surprising.
Michigan State started the season 6-0 and has been ranked as high as No. 4 in the AP poll and rated as high as No. 10 by KenPom. But a three-game skid (two of those losses were to ranked teams) sent Sparty out the top-20. But in its last two games, especially against Rutgers, MSU looked like the tourney darling of old.
Izzo’s guys held Rutgers to 31-percent shooting, including 3-for-12 from beyond the arc, and outrebounded the Scarlet Knights 45-25. For a Purdue team that hangs its hat on dominating the boards, that’s a scary proposition to slow down.
The Boilermakers may very well hit their stride once they get back home. But I’m fading them in this spot.
The pick: Michigan State -4.5 (-110)
Blair Johnson is a veteran journalist and seasoned sports content creator. He has been writing and producing content as long as he can remember, with such familiar names as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo. Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.