Michigan State vs. Kansas Showcases Final Four Pedigree in Second Round

Jay Pryce

Saturday, March 18, 2017 5:45 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 18, 2017 5:45 PM UTC

A Final Four pedigree will be on display when No. 1 Kansas and No. 9 Michigan State clash in the second round of the Midwest Region on Sunday. Will head coach Tom Izzo pull off another March miracle? Odds are against with the powerful Jayhawks on deck.

   No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 9 Michigan State

Midwest Region, Sunday, 5:15 pm E.T


In case you needed confirmation it’s March, Michigan State (20-14 SU, 18-15 ATS) just romped by 20 points as a short-priced underdog. Head coach Tom Izzo always gets the best out of his young men in the NCAA Tournament, and Friday night was no different. The Spartans, outside of the first 10 minutes, looked like a top-seed, thwarting Miami (Fla.) 78-58 as 2-point pups; next up: the Midwest’s No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks.

Izzo fields four freshmen coming of age late in the season. Nick Ward, Miles Bridges, Cassius Winston, and Joshua Langford scored 57 of the team’s points in the victory over the Hurricanes. Defense is the team’s strength, though, ranking 32nd in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency metric. In the last four games, the unit is holding teams to 58.8 points per game on 38.1 percent shooting. That’s 9.6 points per game below betting market projections.

Kansas (29-4 SU, 13-18 ATS), meanwhile, cruised to an easy 100-62 victory over play-in game winners UC-Davis Friday night. It is the greatest margin of victory of all first-round winners, and just the second time this year the Jayhawks hit the century mark. The offense is head coach Bill Self’s strength with this squad. He fields arguably the best back court in the nation with National Player of the Year favorite Frank Mason III (20.8 ppg) and former Spartans recruit Josh Jackson (16.4 ppg) a potent one-two punch.

Self and Izzo have faced off a dozen times in their careers with the latter owning a slim 7-5 edge in victories—this includes a 4-2 record with the former in charge of the Jayhawks. Expect Self to one-up Izzo in this one, however. Oddsmakers have yet to set a line, but it will open with Kansas around a 6 or 7-point favorite. The Spartans are 4-11 SU and 6-9 ATS as an underdog this season and struggle particularly against faster-paced scoring teams like the Jayhawks. When getting points, Izzo’s crew is 0-9 SU and 1-8 ATS versus opponents averaging better than 72 points per game while allowing 65 points or more. Kansas enters with an 83.2-72.1 differential. The Jayhawks win by double digits, so lay the points for you March Madness picks.


Free NCAAB Pick: Kansas -8Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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