The slew of must-see college basketball games over the next few days includes an intriguing matchup on Thanksgiving Day in Thousand Palms, Calif, between No. 3 Arizona and No. 21 Michigan State at 4 p.m. Eastern on FOX.
The inaugural Acrisure Classic features a 5-0 Arizona team that entered the season with Final Four aspirations and Tom Izzo’s talented Michigan State squad, which is 3-2 but is still considered a contender in the Big 10.
Below is everything you need to know about Thursday’s game, including our Arizona vs. Michigan State betting pick.
Here are our Arizona vs. Michigan State odds, picks, and predictions.
Arizona vs. Michigan State Odds: Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under
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Michigan State Spartans (3-2, 2-3 ATS)
The Spartans’ season has not gotten off to the start that MSU fans hoped for. Izzo’s team lost its season opener to James Madison 79-76 amid an awful 3-point shooting night (the Spartans shot just 1-for-20 from downtown in that game). It’s hard to imagine such poor shooting performances repeating themselves, but through five games, Michigan State is shooting just 26.3% from 3 on nearly 20 attempts per game. That’s partly due to the frigid start against JMU, but still, this team needs to find its touch from outside ASAP.
Michigan State’s roster features several experienced players who helped this team reach the NCAA Tournament in the last three years. The Spartans are led by senior guard Tyson Walker, who is averaging 23 points per game. Walker, a second-team All-Big 10 honoree last year, is one of three senior starters, and that experience is a big reason this team was No. 4 in the AP preseason poll.
Arizona Wildcats (5-0, 5-0 ATS)
Arizona quickly showed that its high expectations in Year 3 under coach Tommy Lloyd were well-placed, winning on the road at Duke in its second game of the year. The Wildcats were a 1-seed in the 2022 NCAA Tournament and a 2-seed last year, and they have the look of a Final Four contender to start this season. Four of Arizona’s first five opponents failed to test this team, but Michigan State will be another tough matchup after the early-season trip to Cameroon Indoor.
Arizona added former UNC guard Caleb Love via the transfer portal this summer, and he’s one of four seniors among Lloyd’s top six players in terms of minutes per game. The Wildcats boast a well-rounded roster, with Love and Kylan Boswell anchoring a solid backcourt and two 7-footers (senior Oumar Ballo and Motiejus Krivas) providing a ton of length inside.
On the year, six Arizona players average at least 11 points per game, but no one averages more than 14. That balance paid dividends against Duke, as all five starters scored at least 11 points, with no player taking more than 14 shots from the floor.
Arizona vs. Michigan State Prediction: Wildcats To Win Close Game
Some teams seem to start the year in midseason form, and that feels like the case with Arizona. It’s not just the win over Duke that has turned heads (though that’s arguably the most impressive victory by any team so far this year), but the way the Wildcats have blown out their other opponents to date. Arizona has scored at least 97 points in four of five games to start the season, which is impressive even considering the quality of competition in those games.
Michigan State will likely keep this one close through the final minutes, but Arizona’s depth and balance will make the difference and allow the Wildcats to not just win, but cover the tight spread.
Arizona vs. Michigan State pick: Arizona (-4 at time of publishing)
How To Watch Arizona vs. Michigan State
- Date: Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023
- Tipoff: 4:00 p.m. ET
- Location: Acrisure Arena — Thousand Palms, Calif.
- Where to Watch: FOX