NCAA Basketball Odds: Spartans Will Overcome Red Storm To Win In Bahamas

Michigan State Spartans Player

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 3:43 PM GMT

It's time to play some basketball in the Bahamas! Our college basketball handicapper looks to keep his season perfect (1-0) as he analyzes one of the early matchups in the Battle for Atlantis on Wednesday: No. 24 Michigan State vs. St. John's.

Michigan State Spartans Vs. St John's Red Storm

With the Spartans' early-season travel schedule taking them back and forth across eight time zones, they barely had enough energy to hold off a feisty Florida Gulf Coast team over the weekend, winning 78-77 at home in a disputed ending regarding the clock. Now MSU travels another long distance to the Bahamas to take on St. John's at the Atlantis Resort. The Spartans still have their reputation though, which is likely earning them the 8-point chalk they have opened up against the Red Storm. The O/U total has opened at 150 points on NCAA basketball odds.

In an uncharacteristic display, the Spartans were outrebounded badly in the game against Florida Gulf Coast, losing by a margin of 41-29. They also shot a putrid 57.6% from the free-throw line after getting 33 chances from the charity stripe – nearly double the attempts of their opponent. The poor play dropped the Spartans ranking from No. 13 to No. 24 in the latest AP poll.

In the post-game press conference, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, stated that the lack of effort on the floor was directly related to the inability to practice hard between games. Izzo was worried about injuries piling up but stated that he will throw that notion out the window after the latest results.

Looking to challenge the Spartans is a St. John’s team coming off of a 92-86 against Minnesota. The Red Storm did cover the spread as a 6.5-point underdog on NCAA basketball picks. St. John’s did not have a successful season last year, only winning eight games in Chris Mullin’s first year as head coach, but most of the team's minutes this year are being played by newcomers. In particular, redshirt freshman Marcus LoVett and true freshman Shamorie Ponds are having big impacts on the Red Storm this year. Ponds is averaging 17 points per game and LoVett 24 points.

St. John’s does have some advantage in length, although its inexperienced players will be challenged by the upperclassmen of Michigan State. The Red Storm have used that length to average 43.3 rebounds per game, a mark higher than the Spartans' 38.3 rebounds per game.

St. John's has struggled with fouls at times, and with Michigan State going to the free-throw line 33 times last game I expect this trend to continue. And while St. John’s may compete with the starting five, the deep rotation of Michigan State will expose the Red Storm’s bench at some point. Izzo has earned my trust over the years, and when he says his team will play harder than ever I don’t have a reason to fade him.

NCAAB Free Pick: MSU -8Best Line Offered: BookMaker

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