Northwestern (15-6, 3-5 Big Ten) welcomes No. 12 Michigan State (17-4, 4-4) to Welsh-Ryan Arena on Thursday night for what is NU's best chance remaining at securing a marquee win.
The Wildcats are currently mired in their toughest stretch of the season, as the meeting with the Spartans is their third of four consecutive games against ranked teams. Of those games, Thursday's is the only one in Evanston. This also hasn't been an especially successful couple of games for Chris Collins' squad which has lost three in a row. After suffering a disappointing loss to Penn State and a heart-breaker against Maryland, Northwestern was run off the court by Indiana on Saturday.
Michigan State hasn't exactly been playing it's best basketball as of late either. The Spartans are 1-3 in their last four, including losses at Wisconsin and against Nebraska at home. At the very least, Northwestern already has the double transitive victory over them. However, Michigan State might have turned the corner on Saturday with a 74-65 win over No. 7 Maryland.
As the end of the season rapidly approaches, Northwestern is desperately in need of a signature win of some sort. According to KenPom, Northwestern has a 33 percent chance of winning on Thursday night, which is the Wildcats' best odds against any halfway decent team the rest of the regular season, which includes games at Michigan and Ohio State. Northwestern not only needs to win this one to improve its resume, but with a matchup against No. 3 Iowa looming on the horizon, the Wildcats must end their losing streak before it gets any longer.