Michigan State vs. Minnesota, 01/11/17 – Preview & Prediction

Game Snapshot

Minnesota Golden Gophers
Michigan State Spartans

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at 7:00pm

Written by on

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

No. 24 Minnesota Golden Gophers at Michigan State Spartans

When/Where: Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET, Breslin Center, East Lansing

Spread: Spartans -2.5

Total: 137

Minnesota and Michigan State will already finish off their season series — barring a matchup in the Big Ten Tournament — when the newly-ranked Gophers make a trip to East Lansing on Wednesday night, a place they usually don’t play very well. Check out the game on the Big Ten Network.

Gophers Back In Top 25

No. 24 Minnesota (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) joined the Associated Press Top 25 this week for the first time since February 2013 during Tubby Smith’s final season. Pretty impressive for a team that was 8-23 last year, but Coach Richard Pitino downplayed any significance: “Rankings mean absolutely, 1,000 percent nothing to me,” he said. More important, Pitino said, is the RPI, which takes into account a team’s opponents, and plays a large role in whether teams make the NCAA tournament as at-large bids. Minnesota is currently No. 7 nationally in the RPI.

The Gophers enter on a three-game winning streak and beat visiting Ohio State 78-68 on Sunday behind 19 points from Amir Coffey. The Gophers, who entered the game with the best field-goal percentage defense in the Big Ten, held the Buckeyes without a basket for an 8:03 stretch early in the first half on their way to a 26-8 lead. Coffey was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Monday for the second time this season. Coffey is the Gophers’ second-leading scorer, averaging 12.8 points per game, while ranking second in steals (20) and third in assists (47). In Minnesota’s four Big Ten games, Coffey is averaging 15.2 points on 51.2 percent field goal shooting. Meanwhile, the Gophers have won back-to-back conference road games for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

Spartans Try To Bounce Back

Michigan State (11-6, 3-1 Big Ten) visited Penn State in Philadelphia on Saturday and I recommended taking the Nittany Lions in that one. They won 72-63 to end the Spartans’ four-game winning streak. The Spartans led just once, 27 seconds into the game, and trailed by as many as 14 in the first half. There were defensive deficiencies that repeatedly led to easy layups and dunks. The Spartans were outrebounded 38-28 for the game and committed 17 turnovers that led to 16 Penn State points, including 11 points on eight first-half giveaways. Tom Izzo was not pleased afterward. “I’m just so tired of trying to explain why I don’t see the big light at the end of the tunnel,” Izzo said. “I see us getting better – the minutes I say that, we take that for granted.”

MSU forward Kenny Goins sprained his ankle in the game. The sophomore got hurt in the first half, was forced back to the bench when he couldn’t play well on it and finished with two points and no rebounds in just six minutes. It’s not clear if he will play here. As usual, MSU is a good defensive team. The Spartans have held Big Ten opponents to a .405 field-goal percentage, good for the second-best mark in conference play. Every opponent has been held under 47 percent shooting, with Baylor’s .469 mark being the highest by a Spartan opponent this season. Under Izzo, the Spartans are 299-42 (.877) at home, including a 151-30 (.834) conference record.



  • Golden Gophers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
  • Golden Gophers are 15-32-1 ATS in their last 48 road games.
  • Golden Gophers are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 Wednesday games.

Michigan State:

  • Spartans are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Wednesday games.
  • Spartans are 15-3 ATS in their last 18 vs. Big Ten.
  • Spartans are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
  • Spartans are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss.
  • Spartans are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.

Michigan State leads the all-time series with Minnesota, 67-59, including a 41-20 advantage in games played in East Lansing. The Spartans have won 16 of the last 19.  Three of the last four contests have gone into overtime, including the last two at Breslin Center. On Dec. 27 at Minnesota, the Spartans rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit for a 75-74 OT win. Alvin Ellis III had a career-high 20 for MSU including two clutch free throws in the OT. The Gophers are 1-4 ATS in their past five at MSU.

The Pick: Spartans -2.5

MLB on Monday, 4-24-2017

Pirates vs. Cubs, 04/24/17 - Prediction & Preview

A pair of NL Central rivals renew their acquaintance as they kick off a series in the Steel City. The Chicago Cubs continue a road trip as they open a set with the Pittsburgh Pirat... Read More

Rays vs. Orioles, 04/24/17 - Preview & Prediction

The Rays open a three game series in Baltimore on Monday against the Orioles. The Orioles are one of the better stories in baseball this year and they also own the best record in ... Read More

Reds vs. Brewers, 04/24/17 - Prediction

A pair of NL Central rivals renew their rivalry as they open a series in beer country. The Cincinnati Reds are on the road to open a trip as they kick off a set with the Milwaukee ... Read More

Nationals vs. Rockies, 04/24/17 - Prediction

Tonight, the National League East meets the National League West as the Washington Nationals pay a visit to Coors Field in Denver, Colorado to grapple with the Colorado Rockies in ... Read More

Diamondbacks vs. Padres, 04/24/17 - Prediction & Preview

National League West MLB action this evening and the San Diego Padres will tangle with the Arizona Diamondbacks in game one of a four-game series from Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizo... Read More

Angels vs. Blue Jays, 04/24/17 - Preview & Prediction

The Los Angeles Angels and Toronto Blue Jays will wrap up a four-game series when they meet again at Angel Stadium on Monday night.... Read More

Last Updated: January 11, 2017

Matt Severance

Matt has been a sports journalist for nearly two decades. He is a former sports editor/writer at two newspapers and a magazine. Went full-time freelance sports writer in 2008 -- not by choice then but became a life-changing decision in the best possible way. Consider myself expert on all major US sports. If you are looking for Curling or Badminton expertise, etc., I'm not your guy.