Marquee NCAA Basketball Pick: #1 Michigan State to Crush Northeastern

Joe Catalano

Saturday, December 19, 2015 3:43 PM GMT

Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015 3:43 PM GMT

Everyone is always looking to knock off the #1 team in the land and currently, the Michigan State Spartans hold that distinction. Next up for the Spartans is the Norhteastern Huskies.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Michigan State -9.5
Best Line Offered: at 5 Dimes

 

Tip-off is scheduled for this afternoon at 12:30 p.m. EST at Matthews Arena in Boston, Massachusetts. According to 5Dimes, the Spartans are a 9.5 point betting favorite on the NCAA basketball odds and the total for the game is listed at 139.

 

Izzo Doesn't Accept Losing
I had mentioned in a previous article when the Spartans took a back seat to Kentucky with future odds at 7/2 to win their conference and that these were great odds as head coach, Tom Izzo, expects his team to win every game. When an experienced such as Izzo, who is a proven winner and makes declarations such as that, you pay full attention, and look where the Spartans are; #1 in the nation.

 

Denzel Valentine
When looking at the Spartans leading scorer, you're looking at one of the most complete players in the nation as he averages a near triple double at 18.6 points, 8.5 rebounds, 7.2 assists and is an excellent free throw shooter during crucnhtime. Although the Spartans have had things their way, games will be tight as inter-conference play approaches.

At 6 foot 5, 220 pounds, Valentine is somewhat of smaller version of Magic Johnson, who went to the same school. He has an NBA body, but is too short to be a power forward and is very unselfish with the basketball. Point guards just don't come this size unless you're talking about Magic and he looks to bring the Spartans a National Championship just like Magic Johnson did in his sophomore season against Larry Bird and the Indiana State Sycamores.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves, but nonetheless, the Spartans have the most complete package in the country in Valentine That said. Valentine is coming off of 2 poor shooting games against Florida and MD-E Shore as he's combined for 9 of 28 from the field and averaged just 14 points per game. This is nothing to worry about as the Huskies are the perfect opponent in getting back on track. I expect a massive game from Valentine as he's unstoppable force that can hurt an opposing team in so many ways.

 

Unique and Dominant
Michigan State is a team that likes to make frequent substitutions, keeping the defense fresh. Only Valentine and Bryn Forbes (12.7 points, 45.3% from 3-point range) average more than 20 minutes per game and this is a rarity in college hoops. In their last 3 games, the Spartans have allowed an average 40.3 points per game. Northeastern's offense will need to find a way to penetrate the tough MSU defense.

 

Walker and Ford
From a Northeastern perspective, they will attempt to break down the MSU "defensive wall" with leading scorers, David Walker ( 21.5 points, 46.4% from 3-point range) and Quincy Ford (16.3 points, 6.8 rebounds). While I respect the fast start that Northeastern has gotten off to, they're playing a team that's on a completely different level and Michigan State should be able to blow out the Huskies on the road despite the talent of these two young players. Take the Spartans as the NCAA basketball pick.

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