NCAA March Madness: Marquette vs. Michigan State betting preview, odds and predictions

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NCAA March Madness: Marquette Golden Eagles vs. Michigan State Spartans betting preview, odds and predictions

In the 2 vs. 7 matchup in the East region of the NCAA Tournament, the Marquette Golden Eagles face the Michigan State Spartans for a spot in the Sweet 16. All tournament long, VSiN will be providing you with March Madness betting odds, in-depth team analysis and expert college basketball picks. Make us your one-stop shop for all of your betting needs. 

 

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How to watch Marquette vs. Michigan State

When: Sunday, 5:15 p.m. ET

Where: Columbus, Ohio

Watch: CBS

Odds for Marquette vs. Michigan State

Spread: Marquette -4.5

Total: 141.5

(Odds accurate as of Friday, March 17th at 5:00 p.m. ET)

Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook

East Region No. 2 Seed Marquette Golden Eagles

Shaka Smart has done one of the best coaching jobs in the country with his Golden Eagles, as they finished the season atop the Big East standings. Not many people gave Marquette much of a shot at accomplishing that feat, and Smart’s group did it in a surprising way. In the past, we have recognized Smart’s groups as defensive-minded teams — he became famous for his “Havoc” full-court press. However, this Golden Eagles team has gotten the job done on the offensive end. It’s a very tough team to guard, with point guard Tyler Kolek being a big reason why. He’s a tremendous playmaker that constantly makes good reads on the floor. He’ll enjoy having the national spotlight to work with in March. But it was Kameron Jones that starred in the tournament opener, scoring 19 in a blowout win over the Vermont Catamounts. 

East Region No. 7 Michigan State Spartans

To say this has been an up-and-down season for Tom Izzo’s group would be an understatement. However, this is a rock-solid basketball team that can get the job done on both ends of the floor. The Spartans are one of the most balanced teams in the country, and they’re a team that nobody wants to face in the Big Dance. Not only can this group defend when it wants to, but Michigan State has quite a few ways it can beat you offensively. Tyson Walker and A.J. Hoggard are two guards that can take turns dicing up opponents, and Joey Hauser is as good of a power forward as there is in the country. Hauser can beat teams from inside and out, and that is part of what makes this a tough team to guard. He had 17 points and eight boards in a 10-point win over the USC Trojans in the first round. 

Marquette vs. Michigan State matchup analysis

Marquette was one of the best teams in the Big East this season, and the team got to showcase its brilliant offense in a blowout win over Vermont in the first round. The Golden Eagles did, however, get a cruel tournament draw, as they now have to face a very good Spartans team in the second round. Tom Izzo is one of the greatest coaches in the history of college basketball, and his teams have been especially tough to play in March. This year’s group doesn’t look like it will be an exception, as Michigan State earned a double-digit win against USC in the first round.

This is just a brutal matchup for Marquette, as an argument can be made that Michigan State is just as talented from top to bottom. And when you factor in Izzo’s ability to get his team prepared and make in-game adjustments, there’s just no way a win will come easy for Shaka Smart’s team.  

The Golden Eagles probably feel like they have the best player on the floor in this game, as Tyler Kolek is a tremendous point guard and was the engine behind a top-five offense in the country this year. However, he’s going to have a good defender on him all game, as Tyson Walker is an absolute pest at the point of attack. The Spartans point guard will also look to get into the paint on the other end of the floor, and that could leave Kolek gassed at the end of this game. 

It’s also extremely concerning that Marquette is 254th in the nation in 3P% defense this season. Michigan State is third in the nation in 3P% at 39.4% and can really drills shots from deep. If the Golden Eagles are consistently giving up good looks, the Spartans are going to jump out to an early lead. And they have the defense to hold onto it, as they’re a top-40 team when it comes to adjusted defensive efficiency — and they can bleed the clock with their slow pace of play.

One thing that will be interesting to watch here is whether Michigan State can hold onto the ball. The Golden Eagles force a lot of turnovers defensively, and that’s one way they can potentially make up for the Spartans’ advantage from behind the three-point line. But it’s hard to see an Izzo-led team losing a March Madness game because of turnover issues. 

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