The Michigan State Spartans will make the trip to Iowa City, Iowa to play the Iowa Hawkeyes on Tuesday. Below is the Michigan State vs. Iowa prediction and game preview.
Michigan State vs. Iowa Game Preview
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 29
Game Time: 9 p.m. ET
Venue: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa
Network: Big Ten Network
Why You Need To Care
No. 1 Michigan State has its work cutout as long as Denzel Valentine is sidelined with a knee injury. But that doesn’t mean the Spartans can’t get through the next two weeks without him.
Michigan State had a close call against Oakland last week with a 99-93 win in overtime, but Tom Izzo’s squad is still undefeated, and that’s all that matters right now.
As far as Iowa goes, it’s rebounded nicely with two wins against Drake and Tennessee Tech since falling to Iowa State almost three weeks ago. Now would definitely be the time to take on Michigan State — when Valentine is out.
The Spartans certainly have the talent to stay afloat though. Let’s see how they do on the road without their star.
Why Michigan State Will Win
Bryn Forbes was the go-to guy for Izzo against Oakland. Forbes poured in 32 points on 9-of-15 shooting, but seven of those buckets were from three. Eron Harris also contributed 27 points. If they continue to pick up the slack scoring the basketball, and Matt Costello does his job on the boards, Michigan State should be in good shape.
Why Iowa Will Win
Aside from shadowing Forbes whenever he’s behind the arc, the Hawkeyes have to win the rebounding battle and force the Spartans into isolation basketball. Michigan State is No. 4 in total rebounds and No. 1 in assists. Rotate on defense and gamble in the passing lanes just enough to get the Spartans out of sorts. From there, Jarrod Uthoff will have to balance out the scoring attack by varriying his shot selection. Pass up good looks for great looks and communicate on defense.
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What’s Going To Happen?
This could easily go into overtime — especially with the game being in Iowa City. We don’t know how Michigan State is going to handle playing on the road without Valentine. The Spartans should rely on Forbes once again to bury some triples. The Hawkeyes will pull down some rebounds, but Harris will do enough damage in the scoring column to help the Spartans win on the road. It could very easily be a close one though.
Michigan State vs. Iowa Prediction
Robert Judin: Michigan State 75, Iowa 74
Line: Iowa -3, o/u: 144