Iowa Basketball: Preview and prediction against Michigan State

The Iowa basketball team will host the Michigan State Spartans on Thursday. Here’s a preview and prediction for the game.

No. 5 Iowa basketball (11-2) will look to extend its four-game winning streak this Thursday evening against the Michigan State Spartans (8-4) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:07 pm CT on FS1.

As of now, the game is still on despite covid issues with two Michigan State players.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo announced on Wednesday that freshman forward Mady Sissoko and sophomore guard Steven Izzo have both tested positive for covid and will not travel with the team to Iowa City.

Players will undergo daily testing before the game tomorrow morning.

The Hawkeyes have not defeated Michigan State since Jan. 2016, so Thursday night could be the perfect opportunity to get back on track. Over their last 10 games, Iowa is 2-8 against the Spartans.

Traditionally a national powerhouse, Michigan State isn’t seen as much of a threat this season. The Spartans hold a 2-4 record in the Big Ten (wins against Rutgers and Nebraska), and their signature win came way back on Dec. 1 against No. 19 Duke.

Izzo isn’t too worried about his team’s slow start in conference play, though. “I thought it would take till the middle of January for us to come around,” Izzo said last week. “There’s some changes and there’s some things that we gotta get straightened out still.”

Well, we’re at the middle of January, Tom, and the next opponent on Sparty’s schedule is the 5th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes.

It’s no surprise the Hawks are a big favorite in this game based on both teams’ recent form. According to Odds Shark, Iowa is a 9-point favorite. The over/under is set at 157. According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Hawkeyes have an 84.9% chance of winning.

Michigan State averages 76.0 ppg on 45% shooting. They allow 71.3 ppg on 42% shooting. Conversely, the Hawkeyes average 91.9 ppg on 49% shooting and allows 73.2 ppg on 41% shooting.

The Spartans don’t have a dominant scorer unlike other years. Junior forward Aaron Henry leads the team in scoring (13.9 ppg) while averaging 30 minutes per game. Overall, Michigan State has just two players who average double-digit points.

All of that said, Sparty does appear to have a deep bench. But can they keep up with Iowa’s fast-paced play?

Iowa vs. Michigan State Prediction

The answer: No. Iowa 83, Michigan State 77. The Hawkeyes win their fifth straight game and improve their home-court record to 10-0. Iowa has been on fire lately, led by senior guard Jordan Bohannon, who’s averaging nearly 20 ppg over his last four contests. The Hawkeyes should be able take care of business against a lesser foe, especially if they want to keep pace with Big Ten front-runner Michigan (6-0 in conference).