Michigan State Spartans (17-9, 9-6) @ Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-18, 2-12)
When? Thursday, February 20th at 7:30 p.m. CT
Where? Pinnacle Bank Arena and FS1
How are these teams playing?
Honestly? They are playing about as similar as they could. The Huskers’ losing streak has hit a season-high of ten games. They have lost all the games by an average of 11 points. There have been a few bright spots, such as close one-possession losses to ranked Rutgers and Maryland squads.
But, for as many bright spots, there have been the opposite. A 17-point Wisconsin loss just last Saturday, two games after a 24-point loss to Iowa. Ironically that Maryland game was sandwiched right in between. Does that mean a bounce-back performance is coming?
If so, it will have to come at the hands of the Huskers’ big three: Haanif Cheatham, Cam Mack and Thorir Thorbjarnarson. Those have been the most consistent players for the Huskers this season, with a few bright games from Dachon Burke or Jervay Green.
But what Michigan State team will they get on Thursday? The one with two-ranked wins and an eight-game winning streak from a month ago, or the one who has dropped four of their last five in Big Ten play. That lone win was by one-point, with a game-winner coming in the final seconds.
To their credit, three of the last five are also ranked and none of the losses were by double digits. Even on their worst day, this team is clearly on a different level than Nebraska. Plus, the Huskers have a man on the inside, with Coach Hoiberg’s son Jack being on the Spartans’ bench.
Who is supposed to win?
Obviously, the Spartans hold a huge edge. They are favored by 89.4% according to ESPN’s BPI.
Who will win?
Crazier things have happened. No one saw that Maryland performance coming. But this would be a loss that would send the Spartans, unranked for the first time all season, spiraling. One team has a fun, wild upset to play for. One has their season and tournament seeding. Which do you think will have more fight?
Spartans 85, Huskers 72