USA TODAY Sports
No. 10 Michigan State is trending in the wrong direction and the Spartans look to break a three-game losing streak when they host No. 5 Maryland in Saturday’s Big Ten showdown. Michigan State dropped one-point decisions to Wisconsin and Nebraska in its last two outings while the Terrapins are a half-game out of first place in the conference race.
Spartans coach Tom Izzo admits his team’s confidence has dipped due to the skid but made it clear there isn’t any signs of panic. “I haven’t lost the team, haven’t lost the locker room,” Izzo told reporters. “Nobody is upset about this and that. We just got to get more guys playing a little bit better and maybe a bit smarter.” Maryland’s only Big Ten blemish is a road loss against Michigan on Jan. 12 and the team rebounded with a 35-point trouncing of Ohio State before surviving a 62-56 overtime victory against Northwestern on Tuesday. “Some nights things don’t go well and you just have to figure out ways to win,” Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon told reporters.
TV: 6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
LINE HISTORY: Despite the Spartans current slump, they have opened as 3.5-point home favorites. The total opened at 140.5.
Maryland – G D. Wiley (out for season, knee).
Michigan State – F K. Goins (probable Saturday, foot), F M. Costello (probable Saturday, ankle), G L. Nairn (out indefinitely, foot).
ABOUT MARYLAND (17-2, 9-10 ATS, 9-9-1 O/U): Freshman center Diamond Stone has provided the Terrapins with a strong inside scorer; he has 12 consecutive double-digit outings while averaging 13.5 points and shooting 59.9 percent from the field. Sophomore point guard Melo Trimble leads Maryland in scoring (13.9) and assists (5.7) while junior forward Robert Carter Jr. averages 13.2 points and a team-best seven rebounds. Gritty senior forward Jake Layman (10.9) and senior guard Rasheed Sulaimon (10.4) also score in double figures for a team shooting 50.9 percent from the field, a figure that ranks fifth nationally.
ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (16-4, 10-9 ATS, 8-11 O/U): The Spartans’ slump began shortly after the return of do-everything guard Denzel Valentine from a four-game absence due to a knee injury and the player averaging 18.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.6 assists said his team needs to play with more intelligence. “We need to come out and be ready to play,” Valentine told reporters. “Maryland is a great team and has good players. We just can’t make late-game mistakes. We’ve been playing well enough the last few games. We just haven’t played smart enough.” Senior guard Bryn Forbes ranks second on the squad in scoring (13.1) but is averaging just 5.7 points on 5-of-22 shooting during the three-game losing streak.
* Maryland is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Underdog is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings.
* Under is 4-0 in Michigan State’s last 4 Saturday games.
* Under is 3-0-1 in Maryland’s last 4 road games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Sixty-three percent of wagers are backing Maryland in this Big Ten showdown. The total is still currently off the board.