Big Ten basketball power rankings: New team at the top

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According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, Michigan State is the clear favorite, as the Spartans are getting odds of -21 points against Rutgers. Sophomore Nick Ward has been one of the most consistent players in the country, shooting a Big Ten-best 70.7 percent while recording five double-doubles as sophomore Miles Bridges remains the Spartans' most dynamic player, leading them in scoring at 16.5 points a game and being held to less than 10 points just once this season.

AP photo Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, shown in Wednesday's 76-72 overtime win against Rutgers, will lead the Spartans against rival Michigan Saturday.


The situation for the Badgers heading into their home faceoff with the Spartans could hardly be more similar to last year's: 7-8-1 in 2016-17, 10-10-3 now; just one win in their previous five games for the previous team, while the current squad is winless in its last four. Much like the last meeting, Rutgers battled the No. 4 team in the land right down to the final buzzer, with MSU needing overtime to outlast a resilient Rutgers bunch. Maryland shot 36 percent from the floor to Michigan State's 43 percent from the field at intermission, compounding poor offense with uncharacteristic errors.

"He's as good a player as there is in the league", said Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell. Does he have it in him to take over a game? The duo is joined by fellow freshman Eli Brooks, who started 12 games, and sophomore center Jon Teske, who has a shot-altering presence and the ability to knock down 15-footers. That's what you're going to see every night, and I don't think we responded well to it at all. "Foul trouble hurt him a bit in the first half, which is why he sat on the bench next to me".


The men's basketball team's two closest wins this season have both come against the same team: The Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The Spartans have depth, but it can be tough managing that rotation, something Izzo has done well with a team that has unmatched chemistry.

Defensively, it's obvious that MI likes to take as many 3-pointers as a defense is willing to give. "Cassius made a great pass and that's a shot I shoot so many times so I felt like I was going to hit that shot". The Wolverines (14-4, 3-2 Big Ten) are plenty motivated after their 1-point home loss to Purdue on Tuesday. Their penalty kill was effective at times - the Spartans didn't record a shot on goal during two of their power-play chances - but gave up the game-winning goal as well at 19:49 of the second period. Tip-off is set for noon, with television coverage on FOX.


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