Super Tuesday ESPN Michigan State and Indiana Odds and Predictions – Free NCAA Basketball Picks 2/28/2012

Free College Basketball Picks and Spreads: Michigan State @ Indiana 2012 NCAA Basketball Vegas Odds, Free Picks, and Expert Predictions 2/28/12: ESPN’s Super Tuesday features a showdown between two Big Ten teams that are tournament bound. The fifth-ranked Michigan State Spartans (24-5) will travel to Assembly Hall to take on the 20th-ranked Indiana Hoosiers (22-7), and while neither team is on the bubble, both sides have plenty to play for. Michigan State can clinch the conference title with a victory, and move closer to securing a No. 1 seed for the big dance. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers are looking to bolster their seeding, as well, by knocking off a third top-five team at home this season. The Spartans are road favorites in this matchup but only by two points.

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Tuesday’s game is a rematch of a meeting in late December, which the Spartans won 80-65. Despite the 15-point victory, Michigan State didn’t have an easy time handling Indiana. The Hoosiers led by as many as nine in the second half, before the Spartans put the game away with a late 20-0 run. Indiana’s youth and experience showed in the first meeting, and it has all season on the road. In fact, six of the Hoosiers’ seven conference losses have come away from Assembly Hall. Meanwhile, Indiana owns wins over Kentucky and Ohio State at home, and Michigan State could be next.

Indiana’s surprising resurgence this season can be attributed almost entirely to the addition of Cody Zeller. The highly-touted freshman has lived up the hype, and he currently leads the Hoosiers in scoring (15.4) and rebounding (6.5). He is also shooting an incredible 63.6 percent from the field and has been the steady source of offense the team has been lacking for the last several years. However, he has had his issues on the road, and in the earlier loss to the Spartans, Zeller had just four points. Even in Indiana’s most recent road outing at Minnesota, Zeller finished with just seven points. On the flip side, Zeller has routinely topped 20 points at home, and all signs point to a big game for the freshman Tuesday night.

Of course, Michigan State has some star power of its own and some experienced star power at that. Senior forward Draymond Green is likely going to be named the Big Ten Player of the Year, and he even has a shot at the Wooden Award. He is one of the most versatile players in the country, averaging a double-double to go along with nearly four assists. Green’s ability to score from the post or the perimeter and create open looks for his teammates makes him a nightmare matchup for any defense, and he stuffed the stat sheet in Michigan State’s win against Indiana in December. He is also an excellent defender, and he had a lot to do with Zeller’s poor game in East Lansing.

While Green and Zeller are the headliners, Michigan State guard Keith Appling and Indiana guard Christian Wofford could end up deciding the outcome. Both players have similar roles on their respective teams, and both have had similar years. Appling is the Spartans’ second-leading scorer, and Wofford holds the same distinction for the Hoosiers. However, both players have been up and down throughout the year, following up big games with inexplicable duds. In the first meeting, Appling exploded for 25, while Wofford went off for 26. Needless to say, the two offset one another, but that could change Tuesday night. If Appling has a big game and Wofford struggles, or vice versa, it could definitely tip the scales.

There is no doubt that the Hoosiers are a different team in Assembly Hall. Their home crowd is a huge advantage, the players feed off the energy, and Zeller and the rest of the young players are simply more comfortable. The chances of Indiana losing by double digits this time around are almost nonexistent. That being said, the Hoosiers aren’t going to take the Spartans by surprise. Michigan State knows firsthand how well Indiana can play. The Spartans also know they can clinch the Big Ten title with a win, which should serve as more than enough motivation. Michigan State’s physicality and dominance on the glass doesn’t disappear when they go on the road. The game should be close, but the Spartans can pick up the win and cover the small point spread.

Prediction: Michigan State Spartans (-2) Cover the Spread

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College Basketball: Michigan St @ Indiana
Date: 2/28/12
Time: 7:00 PM EST on ESPN
Vegas Odds Favorite: Michigan St -2.5 Total: Over/Under 138.5

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