Michigan State basketball vs. Iowa tipoff: Matchup analysis and a prediction

Iowa's Connor McCaffery (30), Ahron Ulis (1) and Kris Murray (24) during the first half of an NCAA basketball game against Rutgers, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, at Jersey Mike's Arena in Piscataway, N.J.
Iowa's Connor McCaffery (30), Ahron Ulis (1) and Kris Murray (24) during the first half of an NCAA basketball game against Rutgers, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, at Jersey Mike's Arena in Piscataway, N.J.

• What: Michigan State vs. Iowa

• When: 7 p.m. Thursday

• Where: Breslin Center, East Lansing

• TV/Radio: FS1/Spartan Sports Network radio, including WJIM 1240-AM and WMMQ 94.9-FM; Sirius/XM Ch. 84 (MSU broadcast), 380 (Iowa broadcast)

• Records/Rankings: MSU is 13-7 overall, 5-4 in the Big Ten and unranked. Iowa is 12-7 overall, 4-4 in the Big Ten and unranked.

• Betting line: MSU -3

• Kenpom projected score: MSU 76, Iowa 72

• Coaches: MSU — Tom Izzo is 679-274 in his 28th season as a head coach, all with the Spartans. Iowa — Fran McCaffery is 505-346 in his 27th season as a collegiate head coach, including 254-169 in his 13th season with the Hawkeyes.

• Series: MSU leads 76-58 all-time, including 14 of the last 19 meetings, though the Hawkeyes have won the last three meetings, including the only game last year.



C (22) Mady Sissoko (6-9) 5.6

PF (10) Joey Hauser (6-9) 13.8

G (3) Jaden Akins (6-4) 8.6

G (2) Tyson Walker (6-1) 14.3

PG (11) AJ Hoggard (6-4) 12.7


F (0) Filip Rebraca (6-9) 13.9

F (24) Kris Murray (6-8) 21.3

F (30) Connor McCaffery (6-6) 7.7

G (11) Tony Perkins (6-4) 10.8

G (1) Aaron Ulis (6-3) 5.5

• MSU update: The Spartans are coming off an 82-69 loss at Indiana, their third loss in four games, following a seven-game winning streak. All four of those games were against teams currently ranked in the top 26 teams via the analytics site All seven of their previous wins were against teams outside the top 40. MSU sits at No. 36. Iowa is No. 35. Malik Hall’s availability remains unclear. It’s possible he returns from his foot injury any time now. But it might also make sense to let him get through this week before bringing him back. After Sunday’s game at Purdue, the Spartans don’t play until the following Saturday, Feb. 4, against Rutgers at Madison Square Garden in New York.

MORE: What Tom Izzo said about why he didn't bring in a transfer, living up to living room promises, Mady Sissoko, Pierre Brooks, etc.

• Iowa update: The Hawkeyes had won four straight — including wins over Indiana, Michigan and at Rutgers — before Saturday’s road loss at Ohio State. They also had a game last week against Northwestern postponed due to COVID issues in Northwestern’s program. Iowa is one of the best offenses in the country — No. 5 in adjusted offensive efficiency, per Kenpom — and the top scoring offense in the Big Ten, averaging 77.8 points per game in conference play. Also on brand, the Hawkeyes are giving up more points (78.1) than any other team in league games. They’re 146th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. Kris Murray, the twin brother of NBA lottery pick Keegan Murray, has taken over as the Hawkeyes’ star, leading the Big Ten at 23.4 points per game in conference play. Former starter Patrick McCaffery, who took a leave of absence on Jan. 1 to deal with anxiety, has returned to practice and could play against MSU.

MORE: Couch: MSU needs more from Mady Sissoko. The center position is no longer clearly his.

• Inside the matchup: This is a game where the Spartans might really miss Malik Hall, provided he doesn’t make a surprise return. Because Hall is the obvious defensive counter to Iowa’s Kris Murray, whose offensive versatility and game is a bear to deal with. He’s shooting better than 37% from 3 and nearly 62% on 2s. He’s the most complete offensive player the Spartans have faced, given his size and skill and ability to score from the post, off the dribble and from outside — like his brother, the ideal centerpiece for the Hawkeyes’ offense. The good news for MSU is that, for once, Mady Sissoko doesn’t have the game’s toughest matchup. That probably falls on Joey Hauser or, well-undersized, Jaden Akins in dealing with Murray. MSU doesn’t have a good answer there. But MSU has the advantage in the backcourt and Hauser's offense will at least will force Murray to work on both ends.

• Prediction: Iowa’s win at Rutgers showed what the Hawkeyes are capable of doing on the road. That was impressive. But this is also the worst defense the Spartans have faced in Big Ten play. At home, in another spot where it feels like a must-win given the schedule directly ahead, I think MSU’s veterans get this done.

• Make it: MSU 77, Iowa 72

MORE: Couch: 25 years ago, MSU basketball won the game that 'changed the program' and set the course for all that followed

Contact Graham Couch at Follow him on Twitter @Graham_Couch.

This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: MSU basketball vs. Iowa: Prediction, preview, TV info, betting line