NCAA Basketball Picks: Defensive Prowess to Send Michigan St. & Louisville to the Wire

Charles Stark

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 12:10 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015 12:10 PM UTC

The Louisville Cardinals visit the Michigan State Spartans in a game that promises to end up being very tight. Review the NCAA basketball odds with us for some extra profits tonight!

We continue looking at the ACC/Big Ten challenge and we head to Michigan State where the Louisville Cardinals visit to take on the Spartans. Michigan State has come out looking like one of the best teams in the country, but I think they are in for a bit of a challenge today against a tough defensive team in the Cardinals. Expect Louisville to hang in more against Michigan State than people anticipate.


NCAA Odds Overview
NCAA Basketball odds have the Spartans as a solid favorite at -5.5 -106 at Pinnacle Sports. For my NCAA pick today, I will back Louisville getting the points as I anticipate this game will be a lot tighter than people may realize. Good value on a well coached team.


Louisville Cardinals
Louisville comes in averaging 84.8 points per game, shooting 52.3% from the field, and 36.4% from beyond the arc. They're also averaging 32.4 made field goals per game which ranks fifth in the country. The problem is they haven't really played anybody so far this season, so this will be their first step up in class. Still, transfers Damien Lee and Trey Lewis have been playing very well for Louisville who also have returning starting guard Quentin Snider. Rick Pitino is one of the best coaches in college basketball, and I believe he will have his team ready for this marquee matchup.

On the defensive side, the Cardinals are allowing 51.2 points per game, 32.4% shooting from the field, and 32% from beyond the arc. Again, they have yet the face anybody of consequence, but these are some really solid numbers on this side of the ball. They rank second in the country in scoring defense and opponent field goals made per game, and rank first allowing 32.7% in opponent two point shooting from the field. This is going to be a great matchup for Michigan State because Louisville brings several things defensively to the table like a solid press and a great matchup zone.


Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State is averaging 85 points per game, shooting 51% of the field, and 41.1% from beyond the arc. They've arguably looked like the best team in the country and Denzel Valentine seems to be the front runner for player of the year. Of course it is still way too early in the season to be crowning any team, and I think the Spartans might be in a little bit tougher spot than people realize. They just finished a pretty rough stretch of games, winning them all, which included Kansas, and two other scrappy teams in Boise State and Providence. They are on a pretty quick turnaround so it'll be interesting how they react to arguably the best defense they have seen this season.

Defensively, Michigan State is allowing 62.6 points per game, 55% shooting from the field, and 30.8% from beyond the arc. This is always a foundation of Tom Izzo's teams and their statistics are solid across the board. What is been probably the most surprising thing about this team is how tremendous they have been on the other side of the ball, pushing tempo and being really efficient offensively. As always, they rank as one of the best rebounding teams so far this season, but Louisville ranks right up there with them. It should be a fierce battle on the boards.

Michigan State has been traveling away from home for a little bit and that fact might pay dividends to the Cardinals. This is all the makings of an outstanding game, and for one of your NCAA Basketball picks, I recommend backing Louisville plus the points. I expect the Cardinals to hang in with the Spartans for most of this game, but most likely for Michigan State to find a way to win, albeit close.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Louisville +5.5 at Pinnacle

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