The Kansas Jayhawks are one step away from advancing into the Sweet 16 but more important is the fact that the Jayhawks would be playing at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, which means that they would basically play at home. However, this step is quite a large one to make, as they will need to get around the Michigan State Spartans who seem to have put the poor regular season behind them, judging by the way they played in the first game on Friday.
Place: Bank of Oklahoma Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Date/Time: Sunday March 19th, 2017. 05:15 PM ET
TV Coverage: CBS
#1 Kansas Jayhawks vs. #9 Michigan State Spartans
LINE: Kansas -8 (-105)
Total: 148 point (-103 over, 105 under)
The Jayhawks outclassed the Aggies with 100:62
There isn’t much to tell about the one of the most lopsided wins in the first round, when the Midwest No.1 seed took care of the business and disposes the inferior UC Davis 100-62. The Kansas Jayhawks (29-4) were focused right from the tip-off and have built 22 point lead before the halftime break. All five starters scored in double figures, ignited by Josh Jackson’s return from the suspension and confident display of senior guard Frank Mason III. Mason led all scorers with 22 points and dished out 8 assists and pulled down 5 boards. The Jayhawks outclassed the Aggies in every aspect, shooting 56.3 percent to 33.9 percent, outrebounded them 45-27 and had 12 more assists.
The game served as a good warm-up practice for Sunday, as Kansas hasn’t played a game in 8 days after a surprisingly early conference tournament exit. The win over UC Davis was their ninth in the last ten games, but they’ll need a couple more to call the season a success. The Jayhawks feature the 16th ranked offense and average 82.7 points, 38.8 rebounds and 16.3 assists per game. The defense only ranks 184th in the league, surrendering 72.4 points.
The Spartans raise many questions after their superb 1st round performance
While the Michigan State first round win isn’t all that surprising, very few outside the hardcore Spartans’ fans have expected this. The 78-58 game brings more questions than answers. Are the Michigan State Spartans (20-14) this good or their dominance was a result of fortuitous pairing with underperforming Miami Hurricanes? What happened after a 5-17 start of the game? How far can the young Spartans go?
Nothing suggested that the Spartans will have their way with Miami. They’ve lost 3 of their last 4 games coming in and couldn’t buy a basket at the start of the game – they fell behind by 12 points before the 7th minute mark. Then, the shots suddenly started falling and Hurricanes’ poor offense showed all of it’s inaptitude. It took 11 minutes for the Spartans to grab a 37-27 lead, and they’ve led by 20 soon after the break. So what happened? First of all, the Spartans stopped turning the ball over. After six early turnovers, they’ve committed only 6 more the rest of the way. They were also aided by the fact that the Hurricanes have no go-to player on their team and hitting some shots allowed Izzo’s team to set up their defense. They got confident and shot 16-25 on field goals in the second half. Two talented freshmen, Nick Ward (19 points, 8-9 field goals) and Miles Bridges (18 points, 8-12 field goals) played to their full potential.
It will be a different kind of monster when they face the Kansas Jayhawks. The Spartans take pride in playing defense and they allowed only 68.1 points per game this season with 40% shooting to their opponents, but the Jayhawks are much more talented and versatile than the Hurricanes. Limiting their offensive weapon will be a tough task for the Spartans, but even if they manage to do so, they’ll likely exert too much energy on that end of the floor, leaving their usually subpar offense (71.8 points per game) on heavy legs.
#1 Kansas Jayhawks vs. #9 Michigan State Spartans Game Trends & Prediction
The Jayhawks beat the massive spread against the UC Davis and improved to 12-18-1 ATS, while also going over total points for the seasonal record of 15-16 against the over/under.
Michigan State bet has paid off in the first round and the Spartans are now a solid 18-15 against the spread, while the over against Miami brought their O/U record to 16-17.
I’d be very surprised to see Michigan State Spartans pulling an upset and advancing past the more experienced and balanced Jayhawks. You shouldn’t overreact to one good game, especially against offensively limited opponent. Can the Spartans hang on and make it interesting? I doubt it. Kansas opened at -8 and will likely draw some attention, so go ahead and grab them early. There’s not much value in total points either way (my projected line is as 145), so unless there’s some strong movement on the overs closer to the tipoff, I recommend skipping it.
My Pick: Kansas Jayhawks -8
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