A month into the college basketball season, Michigan and Michigan State seemed to have flipped roles.
The Wolverines opened the season at No. 6 in the nation, while the Spartans were unranked. Now, MSU is No. 22 and coming off a big win. Michigan is No. 24 but likely on its way out of the top 25.
How has this first month affected the college basketball future odds for both programs?
Michigan State finding its stride
Michigan State has been the stronger of the two programs thus far. The Spartans are off to a 6-2 start to the season following a 73-64 win over Louisville in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Wednesday night.
MSU recently reached the finals of the Battle 4 Atlantis, upsetting Connecticut along the way. The Spartans’ two losses this season have come to No. 8 Kansas and No. 4 Baylor.
The Spartans have been solid against the spread as well, going 5-2-1 through eight games. The under has been the play in their games, hitting in five of eight games, with a push.
In typical Tom Izzo fashion, MSU is using a lot of bodies to account for its wins. Nine different players are averaging double digits in minutes this season.
Gabe Brown has been the most consistent scorer, averaging 13 points with 4.5 rebounds per game. Marcus Bingham Jr. is using his 7-foot frame to average 10.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. Malik Hall (9.8 ppg) and Max Christie (8.3 ppg) aren’t far behind.
One big area of concern for MSU right now is turnovers. The Spartans are averaging 16.1 per game.
Michigan now a shell of itself
The Michigan Wolverines do not look like a team with an identity right now.
U-M is just 4-3 following a rough 72-51 loss at North Carolina on Wednesday night.
A record is one thing, but the wins aren’t terribly impressive. Michigan has beaten Buffalo, Prairie View A&M, UNLV and Tarleton. The losses all have come against respectable teams such as Seton Hall, Arizona and UNC.
Michigan is just 2-5 against the spread this season as well, while the under has hit in five of seven games.
Perhaps the biggest surprise thus far is the play of sophomore center Hunter Dickinson. After being one of the top freshmen in the nation last year, Dickinson hasn’t shown much growth in his second year.
Dickinson is averaging 13.3 points and 7.7 rebounds this season. Those numbers are similar to his 2020-21 stats. One area where he has dropped off is at the charity stripe. Dickinson is shooting just 60.9% at the line this season, compared with 73.9% last year.
Another surprise is how poorly Michigan is shooting from the 3-point arc. The Wolverines are shooting just 29.4% as a team. That’s a big dip from the 38.7% rate last season.
Eli Brooks is leading the team with 15 points per game while shooting 41.9% from the arc on his own.
MSU climbing, U-M falling in odds markets
After the first month, Michigan is dropping slightly in the NCAA basketball odds markets, while MSU is slowly climbing upward.
The Spartans started the season at +3500 to win the NCAA Tournament and now find themselves at +3000, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Michigan is currently at +1500 after opening the season at +1200.
The Wolverines opened the season as the Big Ten Championship favorite, according to BetMGM Sportsbook. U-M started at +250 and is now at +350, while Purdue is a +180 favorite.
MSU has held its ground, staying at +900 to win the conference, its same opening number.
Big Ten Conference play starting up
Next week, Big Ten Conference play will begin for a week before pausing for a bit and resuming in early January.
Both U-M and MSU will get two conference games next week. Michigan has the luxury of drawing a road trip to Nebraska on Tuesday and a home game with Minnesota on Saturday. BetMGM has those two teams as the longest odds (+15000) to win the Big Ten this season. The Huskers are 5-3 on the season, while the Golden Gophers are a surprising 6-0.
MSU will open conference play at Minnesota on Wednesday and then return home to host Penn State next Saturday. Similarly, the Nittany Lions are one of the longest odds (+10000) to win the Big Ten this season.
It won’t be long before the Spartans and Wolverines clash this season. The two meet in Ann Arbor on Jan. 8 and then have the rematch on Jan. 29 in East Lansing.