by Liev Jackson
#9 Michigan State Spartans vs. #1 Kansas Jayhawks
Spartans: 20-14 (4-5 N)
Jayhawks: 29-4 (5-2 N)
When: 5:15 PM ET, Sunday, March 19, 2017
Where: BOK Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
This game figures to be one of the most highly anticipated games of the weekend as two legendary coaches come together in a round of 32 clash.
Michigan State came into the tournament at 19-14, the worst record of any Tom Izzo coached team in his 20-year history at the helm.
But they looked terrific dispatching Miami 78-58 on Friday night as they hit on 56.6% of their shots and dominated in all facets of the game against the eight seed.
Miles Bridges is one of the best young players in the game -a likely lottery pick- and he put up 18 points in the game, just one point behind his teammate Nick Ward.
They managed to hold the Hurricanes to 40.4% shooting and 25% from long range.
Now we’ll see if Izzo can weave his magic in this one.
He just might be the best in the history of the game at getting his team prepared for the second game of tournament weekend. His 21-4 record in round of 32 and Elite Eight games certainly puts him in pretty rarified company.
He’ll be facing a Kansas team that’s been ranked #1 overall for large parts of the season and would surprise no one if they were to win it all.
They are simply one of the most dangerous teams in the nation and with Bill Self at the helm you have another coaching legend who has won a National Championship.
They looked downright dominant in beating UC Davis 100-62 in their opening game. But you’re not going to tell much when a one-seed takes down a 16-seed. At the same time, you had each starter score in double digits and share the ball around expertly.
The Jayhawks have their own potential lottery pick in Josh Jackson on their side. And all he did in his tournament debut was score 17 points, going 8-12 in just 23 minutes of work.
Frank Mason III led the way with 22 points. The team shot 56.3% from the field and 44.0% from long range.
The Jayhawks have one of the best offenses in the country as they averaged 83.2 PPG which was 15th overall. They also ended up running away with the regular season Big-12 title as eight of the 10 teams finished with winning records in the conference.
They went 5-2 against top-25 teams and that includes a perfect 4-0 versus teams ranked in the top-five including out of conference wins over Duke and Kentucky.
Self’s record in those second weekend games is 19-17.
#9 Michigan State Spartans vs. #1 Kansas Jayhawks March Madness Odds
Live NCAA Basketball Odds & Scores - Click here
In their last action, Kansas was a 100-62 winner at home against Aggies. They covered the -22.5-point spread as favorites.
Michigan State was a 78-58 winner in their most recent outing on the road against Hurricanes. They covered the +1.5-point spread as underdogs.
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#9 Michigan State Spartans vs. #1 Kansas Jayhawks March Madness Odds & Trends
Michigan State is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games
Michigan State is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Kansas
Michigan State is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Kansas
Kansas is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games
Kansas is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Kansas's last 6 games
The Bottom Line: Kansas (-8) should dominate this game, but with that large of a spread there is plenty of space for some Izzo magic even in a loss. The Pick: Kansas 78-75.
Liev Jackson Free NCAAB Predictions: Michigan State +8 & 148 Over at Mybookie
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bill self - frank mason iii - josh jackson - kansas jayhawks - michigan state spartans - miles bridges - nick ward - tom izzo