Michigan State Spartans Gun For Big Ten Title

By: Adam Markowitz | Monday, February 27, 2012

Conference tournaments are getting started this week, and that means March Madness is right around the corner! Tuesday night's college basketball betting slate features a ton of teams that are trying to make their way into the bracket and ensure they have the best seeding possible, which should make for some great games on tap.

After losing their first two games of the season to the North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils, many were set to write off the Michigan State Spartans. They were bounced out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year and looked to be in trouble right out of the blocks in 2011-12, but they have come back with vengeance, going 24-3 SU and 17-7 ATS since that point.

Now, Michigan State can snare the regular season Big Ten title and the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament if the Spartans can beat the Indiana Hoosiers Tuesday night in Bloomington. A win against the Ohio State Buckeyes on Sunday would do the trick as well, but Tom Izzo and the gang are going to want to leave nothing to chance.

Michigan State has been outstanding during the month of February, going 7-0 straight up and 6-1 against the spread, including three wins on the road that came against teams who are either going to be in the NCAA Tournament for sure or right on the bubble for the dance.

Indiana hasn't exactly been slacking either. The Hoosiers' 69-50 win on the road against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday was their fifth win in the last six games, and they divered three of the five victories.

Indiana's Christian Watford scored 26 points and had 10 boards when these two teams met in East Lansing on December 28, but Michigan State still walked away with a comfortable 80-65 victory.

This tip from Assembly Hall is the first game in an ESPN doubleheader, and the tip is set for 7:00 (ET) on Tuesday night.

Later on at 9:00 (ET), the Vanderbilt Commodores will go in search of a very important win against the Florida Gators.

At 20-9, the Commodores are probably in good shape for the NCAA Tournament, but their entry onto the dance floor isn't set in stone. A win against UF would change all of that, but this is surely going to be a challenge. Vandy is just 4-9 ATS at home this year, and the Gators have won three in a row both SU and ATS in this series, including a 73-65 win in Gainesville just three and a half weeks ago.

The Gators aren't in great form right now though, as they have gone just 3-3 SU and 2-4 ATS in their last six games. Their offense, which is averaging 77.7 PPG this season, has only topped 70 points once in this stretch.

Another game with tremendous NCAA Tournament implications takes place at 9:00 (ET) on Thursday night in the Atlantic 10. The Xavier Musketeers, once thought to be a lock for March Madness, might need a win Tuesday night over the Saint Louis Billikens to get to the dance now.

The X-Men are just 18-10 and they don't have a great resume. The Musketeers are only 5-5 SU and 2-6-2 ATS in their last 10 games, including a loss at Cintas Center to these Billikens.

Saint Louis is coming off of a very suspect loss to the Rhode Island Rams on the road, and now, a resume that once looked relatively clean has a tremendous blemish on it. The loss snapped the Billikens' six-game winning streak, and it dropped them to just 0-2-1 ATS in their last three games.

Bubbles could be busting all over the place on Tuesday night. The Minnesota Golden Gophers are certainly on the wrong side of the bubble right now, but they could at least get back in the discussion with an upset over the Wisconsin Badgers at Kohl Center in an 8:00 (ET) tip time. Meanwhile, both the Ole Miss Rebels and Arkansas Razorbacks are longshots for the dance, but one will improve their positioning when the two meet at 7:00 (ET) on Tuesday as well.

The Kansas State Wildcats are almost certainly in the field at this point, and they won't want to slip against the Texas A&M Aggies in an ESPN2 clash at 7:00, while the West Virginia Mountaineers need to make sure that they don't trip against the DePaul Blue Demons in Morgantown in another 7:00 (ET) tip.

Later in the night, the UCF Knights and Memphis Tigers duke it out in Conference USA. Memphis is likely dancing, while the Knights need this win to really have a case. Central Florida has never won at FedExForum against these Tigers, but did log its first ever win against Memphis with a victory in the dying seconds when the teams met in Orlando earlier this year.

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