NCAA Basketball Picks: Memphis vs. Michigan State

David Lawrence

Friday, March 22, 2013 8:08 PM GMT

Friday, Mar. 22, 2013 8:08 PM GMT

The theme of this contest will be offense meets defense as the slow-prodding, defensive-rugged Spartans will challenge the Tigers explosive offense.

College Basketball Betting – Memphis vs. Michigan State Picks

The third-seeded Michigan State Spartans cruised in their Round of 64 opener on Thursday but they should be challenged a little bit more on Saturday when they face the sixth-seeded Memphis Tigers. On the line is a trip to Indianapolis and a spot in the Sweet 16. Here’s a closer look at that contest:

Memphis can win because…

They already proved they can play at Michigan State’s pace. Sure, the Tigers would love to run and gun, which is why they had scored over 80 points in four straight games prior to their matchup with St. Mary’s. However, in that contest, the Gaels slowed things down and the Tigers still found a way to eke out a 54-52 win.

NCAA basketball odds makers know that the Tigers have the athletes to hang with the Spartans. Memphis may be from Conference USA but they are one of the few schools from that conference that recruit players that can match up against the Spartans. This is a team who has been in the tournament many times and they won’t be intimidated by a big brand-name school like the Spartans.

Michigan State can win because…

Memphis isn’t used to facing tough, rugged Big Ten teams like Michigan State. The only other time the Tigers faced a Big Ten team this season, they were punched in the mouth with an 84-75 loss to Minnesota in the Big 4 Atlantis tournament. On the season, Memphis has a total of zero wins against ranked opponents, so if you’re making NCAA basketball picks on Saturday, you might want to keep in mind that the Spartans are a Top 25 team.

Memphis is used to beating up on Conference USA pansies while Michigan State performed well in one of the toughest conference in college basketball. That means quite a bit.

The Tigers can match up with the Spartans athleticism but they’ll have a tough time challenging them on the glass. Frontcourt stalwards like Andreian Payne, Derrick Nix and Branden Dawson should find success on the interior, clean up the glass on their end and give their offense extra opportunities. Michigan State is 23-7 this season when they outrebound their opponent.

[gameodds]14/225375/92-43-19-999996/us[/gameodds]

Outlook & Prediction:

People making their sports picks here would probably like to call a Memphis upset but it’s tough to see. Both teams have good athletes but Michigan State has better coaching, discipline, depth and rebounding. They also have an edge in size inside. Sure, the Tigers will run and gun, but they’ll also probably turn over the ball and miss free throws. Add it all up and the scales seem to tip into Michigan State’s favor.

Look for this game to be close early on but the Spartans will play a focused 40 minutes and pull away in the second half.

NCAAB Pick: Spartans -5.5 at Bovada

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