Michigan St Spartans vs. Northwestern Wildcats Pick & Prediction MARCH 6th 2024

Michigan State’s three-game losing streak has left the Spartans in a precarious position. They no longer can feel entirely comfortable that they’ll receive an NCAA Tournament bid.

That’s what makes their matchup with Northwestern in East Lansing, Mich., on Wednesday so pivotal. The Wildcats currently are projected as a tournament team and handily defeated Michigan State in their first meeting this season.

Following home losses to Iowa and Ohio State, the Spartans (17-12 overall, 9-9 Big Ten) gave No. 2 Purdue a tough battle before falling on the road, 80-74, on Saturday.

“Here at Michigan State, there’s no moral victories,” coach Tom Izzo said. “I was pleased that we competed. I think if we would’ve done that in the last two weeks, we would’ve won three more games.”

Izzo said his team needs its veterans and top scorers — Tyson Walker, A.J. Hoggard, Malik Hall — to carry it in the final week of the regular season.

“Our seniors have got to play better. They just do,” Izzo said. “I’ve got to coach better, they’ve got to play better, and that’s the bottom line.”

Walker could reach a career milestone on Tuesday. He’s 17 points shy of 2,000.

Northwestern (20-9, 11-7) had a three-game winning streak snapped by Iowa on Saturday, 87-80.

“In the second half, I thought we were pretty fatigued,” coach Chris Collins said. “We had three or four (defensive) breakdowns at inopportune times. Our margin for error right now is slimmer. To give up 51 points in the second half is not going to be a great recipe for us going forward.”

In their first game against the Spartans, the Wildcats shot 54.2 percent from the field and claimed an 88-74 victory on Jan. 7. Ty Berry and Ryan Langborg, who combined for 34 points and six assists in that game, are sidelined by injuries.

“We have to dig down (deep) and find a way and that’s what we’re going to do,” Collins said. “We’re in the last week of the regular season. We’ve got to rest, recover and get ourselves ready for another Big Ten battle on Wednesday night.”

Boo Buie leads the Wildcats in scoring with an average of 18.9 points per game. For Michigan State, it’s Walker with 18.0 per game.

–Field Level Media

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