2015 NCAA Tournament Picks: Michigan State vs. Louisville

Ross Benjamin

Saturday, March 28, 2015 9:28 PM GMT

Saturday, Mar. 28, 2015 9:28 PM GMT

We’ll be covering the East Regional Final on Sunday between Michigan State and Louisville. Read our informative betting preview article on this contest that culminates with an ATS selection.

Two Storied Programs in East Regional Final
Michigan State has been the true definition of a bracket buster during the 2015 NCAA Tournament, advancing to the East Regional Final in Syracuse, New York on Sunday at 2:20 PM ET. The #7 seed Spartans will take on a Louisville team that’s making its fifth “Elite Eight” appearance in the last seven years. The #4 seed Cardinals have been installed as a 2.5 point underdog according to the NCAA Tournament odds at BetOnline, and the current posted total is 128.5.

 

Once again peaking at the Right Time
The Michigan State Spartans have made it a habit of peaking at the right time of the season, and then making a deep NCAA Tournament run under the guidance of head coach Tom Izzo. The Spartans enter the regional final winners of seven of their last eight games. Their only loss in that sequence came in overtime at the hands of Wisconsin during the Big 10 Tournament Finals. They’ve certainly earned their spot in the “Elite Eight” with wins over #10 seed Georgia, #2 seed Virginia, and on Friday knocked off the #3 seed Oklahoma Sooners. The Spartans trademark defensive play has keyed those three wins by allowing 58.3 points per game, and holding those opponents to a dismal 33.1% shooting from the field.

 

Cardinals are a Mild Surprise
There were many experts that weren’t very high on the Louisville Cardinals entering the tournament, and that includes the author of this article. After narrowly escaping with a 57-55 second round win over UC-Irvine, the Cardinals breathed a sigh of relief, and turned in impressive performances in each of the next two games. They handled nationally ranked and #5 seed Northern Iowa with surprising ease 66-53 to advance to the “Sweet Sixteen”. Then on Friday, they pulled away down the stretch in a 75-65 win over North Carolina State. It’s often been said that guard play can carry you a long way in “The Big Dance”. Well that certainly was the case in the win over the Wolfpack. The Cardinals have been an offensively challenged team for the better part of this season. Prior to their 75-point outburst on Friday, Louisville had scored 66-points or less in nine of the previous ten games.

Here you can read another preview of this game 

Final Analysis
Michigan State was the dark horse selection in my NCAA Tournament East Region preview article, and there’s no sense changing my mind at this point. The Spartans were far from their best on Friday versus Oklahoma, and it was still good enough to win. They’ll be much better on Sunday. I’m siding with the small favorite for one of my NCAA Tournament picks on Sunday.

NCAA Tournament Pick: Michigan State -2.5 over Louisville at BetOnline

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