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Michigan State vs. Purdue Prediction: Big Ten Tournament Championships

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published March 15, 2024
10 min read

After pulling away late in the second half of their opening Big Ten Tournament game against Minnesota, the Michigan State Spartans will face the No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers. The winner will advance to the semifinals to battle with either Northwestern or Wisconsin!

Can the Spartans rally together for another impressive March run, or will the Boilers take one step closer to winning back-to-back Big Ten Tournament championships? Take a look at our Michigan State Spartans versus Purdue Boilermakers prediction, preview, and betting picks below!

Michigan State vs Purdue Prediction

Michigan State Spartans vs. Purdue Boilermakers Odds for Friday, March 15th

The Michigan State Spartans enter this quarterfinal matchup against Purdue as 7.5-point underdogs on a neutral court (Target Center). Michigan State has performed relatively well against the spread this season, boasting a 17-14-1 record. 

The Boilermakers have also been rock-solid in covering the spread, logging a 16-13-2 ATS record. The Moneyline odds for this game were not made available when this article was written.

Meanwhile, the point total opened at a modest 143 points, with the Under and Over holding odds of -110. Purdue has been one of the country’s best “Over” teams, with an Over record of 21-10. Conversely, the Spartans have gone Under the point total 56.3% (14-18) of the time this season.

Michigan State Spartans+7.5 (-115)+235143 (-110)
Purdue Boilermakers-7.5 (-105)-290143 (-110)

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Michigan State vs. Purdue Preview

The Purdue Boilermakers could not have dreamed up a much better season than this one, at least to this point. After returning six of their best players from last season’s Big Ten regular season and Big Ten Tournament champion team, including reigning Wooden Award winner Zach Edey, the Boilermakers had sky-high expectations from the college basketball world!

If Edey were born 15 to 20 years earlier, he would have been a bonafide top-five pick in the NBA Draft after his 2022-23 campaign. Still, since the league has moved away from traditional centers, Purdue was gifted one more year with one of the most outstanding big men in college basketball history.

At 7-foot-4, Edey is a force on both ends of the floor, averaging roughly 24 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks per game on 62% field-goal shooting. Edey has also improved his conditioning, lateral quickness, and passing IQ and accuracy, allowing the Boilermakers to evolve as a team that can play from the interior out to the perimeter. 

Braden Smith, Fletcher Loyer, Mason Gillis, Trey Kaufman-Renn, and Caleb Furst were the other five key returners for the Boilermakers, but Smith has stepped up the most in his second season. In fact, Smith has averaged close to 13 points, seven assists, and six rebounds per game on an efficient 46/45/81 shooting split

The addition of senior guard transfer Lance Jones, the team’s third-leading scorer (12.4 points per game), has also given the Boilers another talented secondary scorer to lean on when Edey is double-teamed or resting on the bench.

Purdue’s improvement in three-point shooting has elevated it to a title-contending level. The Boilermakers are shooting 41.1% from behind the arc, which is second in the nation, only behind Kentucky (41.2%). Further, Purdue has continued its dominance on the glass (second in total rebounding rate) and its offensive efficiency (first in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom). 

Now, the Boilermakers will take on Michigan State for the second time. The Spartans have been among the most underwhelming teams in the nation, ranking fourth in the preseason polls but finishing the regular season with an 18-13 overall record. 

Luckily, Michigan State’s favorable ranking in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin (19th) and the NET rankings (23rd) will save it from the ever-dreaded bubble; however, the Spartans still have much to prove.

Michigan State has the talent to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, but it has failed to put all of the pieces together despite bringing back Tyson Walker, Malik Hall, A.J. Hoggard, Jaden Akins, Tre Holloman, Jaxon Kohler, Mady Sissoko, and Carson Cooper from last season’s Sweet 16 squad.

In the second half of the 2023-24 campaign, the Spartans have hung their proverbial hat on their defense, which ranks ninth in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom. Michigan State ranks eighth in adjusted defensive shot quality (per ShotQuality), which analyzes the quality of opponents’ shots. 

Further, the Spartans are 47th in opponent effective field goal percentage, which is rock-solid considering they have had the 12th-hardest schedule (Strength of Schedule Rating, per KenPom) in the nation.

Offensively, the Spartans have been inconsistent throughout this season. Walker and Hall have aided an otherwise mediocre offensive attack by combining for more than 31 points per game. Walker, in particular, has been terrific, averaging 18.4 points on close to 45% shooting from the field and 37% from the three-point line. The one area that the Spartans actually have performed well is from deep, where they have knocked down 36% of their attempts.

Will Michigan State have enough firepower to keep up with the Boilermakers, though? Find out through our Michigan State Spartans vs. Purdue Boilermakers prediction and betting picks below!

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Michigan State Spartans vs. Purdue Boilermakers Prediction and Betting Pick

In their sole matchup this season, the Purdue Boilermakers squeaked out a narrow six-point home win at Mackey Arena against Michigan State. The Spartans committed 25 fouls, which led to 30 free throw attempts for Purdue; their centers were in foul trouble throughout the game, causing a lack of stability in the frontcourt. Nonetheless, Michigan State still competed with Purdue on the glass, falling just three rebounds short of the Boilers’ total (36). 

Michigan State merely shot 39% from the field, while Purdue shot 51% from the floor and 50% (10-for-20) from behind the arc. The fact that the Spartans kept that game so close despite their offensive struggles is promising for them in this spot, especially with a likely increase in physical play with fewer whistles in a tournament setting.

The Spartans are one of only a few teams in the Big Ten (and nation) that have three or four players they can rotate on Zach Edey throughout the game. Mady Sissoko, Carson Cooper, Xavier Booker, and Jaxon Kohler all stand between 6-foot-9 and 6-foot-11, which is still substantially smaller than the 7-foot-4 Edey.

However, if Tom Izzo and company throw different coverages at Edey, and rotate their bigs to keep them fresh, they might cause just enough disruption in this Boilermakers offense to keep the game close.

How to Watch Michigan State vs. Purdue

  • When: Friday, March 15th @ 9:00 a.m./12:00 p.m. PT/ET

  • Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

  • TV: Big Ten Network

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Andrew Norton

148 Articles

Andrew has always been an avid sports fan and followed his hoop dreams all the way to college. He’s well-versed in everything betting with multiple years of experience and is qualitatively and quantitatively knowledgeable in sports statistics and analytics.

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