Two traditional powers from the Big Ten are set for a critical conference battle Sunday on CBS as Indiana plays host to Michigan State in a game featuring teams trying to navigate through the sprawling middle tier of the league standings. The meeting is the first of two between the programs this season and shapes up as one of the best matchups of the day in college basketball.
After a 1-4 start to Big Ten play and a streak of five losses in seven games, Indiana (12-6, 3-4 Big Ten) has returned to life with a vengeance over the past week with double-digit victories over Wisconsin and Illinois. The Hoosiers are in the projected NCAA Tournament field as a No. 8 seed entering the game, according to CBS Sports Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm and have looked much-improved in their last two outings.
Star big man Trayce Jackson-Davis is playing some of the best basketball of his career, as he finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in last Saturday's win over the Badgers and followed up with 35 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks in Thursday's win over the the Illini. He made a combined 24 of 32 attempts from the field while leading the Hoosiers in scoring for both contests.
Michigan State (13-6, 5-3) is coming off an impressive 70-57 win over Rutgers on Thursday that epitomized this version of the Spartans. Unlike Indiana and Jackson-Davis, there is no superstar for MSU, which had five players reach double figures in its victory vs. the Scarlet Knights. Senior guard Tyson Walker has been leading the way recently by averaging 17.3 points on 53.6% 3-point shooting in six January contests, but a variety of different Spartans are capable of stepping up in any given game.
The Spartans have not been ranked since early December, but a win here could be enough to get Michigan State back in the AP Top 25 and into prime position among the pack of teams chasing down Purdue in the Big Ten standings.
How to watch Indiana vs. Michigan State live
Date: Sunday, Jan. 20 | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Assembly Hall -- Bloomington, Indiana
TV: CBS | Live stream: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)
Indiana vs. Michigan State prediction, picks
Trayce Jackson-Davis is on absolute heater for Indiana as the Hoosiers have won two straight games in convincing fashion to resurrect their season. Assembly Hall should be loud for this one as IU looks to piece together its first three-game winning streak since November. Michigan State has played just three road games in league play so far but is 2-1 in those contests and should have the composure needed to handle the environment. These Spartans are a veteran bunch coming off a defensively impressive 70-57 win over Rutgers. Look for them to keep it tight and potentially steal one on the road. IU has simply been too inconsistent to trust. Prediction: Michigan State (+3.5)
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