Hoo boy, it’s been a tough go for Big Ten schools. March Madness giveth and March Madness taketh away. If you’re a Big Ten school, chances are you’re on the latter end of that deal.
Iowa fell to Auburn. Indiana to Miami. Iowa State to Pittsburgh. Alabama blew out Maryland. Penn State fell to Texas, and Illinois lost to Arkansas.
One remains: Michigan State, a 7-seed now seeking an Elite Eight slot in its next bout against Kansas State. Now, the MSU Spartans carry the hopes of the Big Ten alone. Will they make it to the Elite Eight or beyond? This Thursday’s game will reveal all
While most of the school’s conference comrades were losing in the round of 64, Michigan State was busy fighting a strong USC squad. At the end of the day, the Spartans pulled out a 1--point victory, moving on to the round of 32 without too much trouble.
There, the Spartans would meet 2-seed Marquette, ever a solid threat to make a meaningful March madness run.
The Golden Eagles put forth a well-balanced team, but they just couldn’t stifle the Spartans. Tyson Walker managed 23 points, two rebounds, and two assists in 36 minutes of play. He led the charge, ushering in a 69-60 victory and ousting the East region’s 2-seed team in an upset.
Now, the Spartan sights are firmly on Kansas State.
Kansas State entered the tournament as a 3-seed, pitted against 14-seed Montana State in round one. The Kansas State Wildcats took down the Montana State Bobcats in a 77-65 victory.
Next, Kansas State faced Kentucky, perennial threat for a March madness win and a 6-seed in this year’s tournament. UK kept the game close-ish, but Kansas State emerged on top with 75 points to Kentucky’s 69.
Kansas State’s Markquis Nowell played 40 minutes and earned 27 points, nine assists, and two rebounds, proving himself a multitalented on-court threat. Keyontae Johnson, Nae’Qwan Tomlin, and Desi Sills scored 13, 12, and 12 points respectively. Kansas State has a powerful offensive corps, and that proved valuable against a capable Kentucky roster.
Despite what the seeding may indicate (Kansas State is a 3-seed while Michigan State is a 7-seed), sportsbooks give the slight edge to Michigan for this March Madness match-up.
At DraftKings, the Michigan State moneyline sits at -130, making the Spartans a narrow favorite over Kansas State at +110. The spread is Michigan State -2.
It’s hard to call, but I like Michigan State’s momentum in this match-up. Both teams have plenty of scoring threats and reasonable depth on the bench. The sportsbooks have it right by calling it so close. Still, a bet on Michigan State is probably a good play here. The Spartans have an explosive offense. Joey Hauser nabbed 10 rebounds and 14 points against Marquette. AJ Hoggard scored 13 points and logged four assists and two rebounds. Michigan can take control of the ball and feed into their scoring threats. Now is certainly the time to make good on their potential.
If you’re still on the fence (a completely reasonable stance, I might add), look into the totals odds. The over is set at 137.5. Kansas State scored 77 and 75 points in each of its first two games. Michigan State scored 72 and 69. High-scoring games all around. The Over is a good look for this game if you’re having trouble committing to an outright winner.
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