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No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 10 Davidson: Preview, picks for first round of 2022 NCAA Tournament

The Michigan State Spartans and Davidson Wildcats meet in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

The 2022 NCAA Tournament is finally here and Selection Sunday has passed! Kicking off the action in the West region is a first-round matchup between the No. 7 Michigan State Spartans and the No. 10 Davidson Wildcats. The game will take place in Greenville, South Carolina on Friday, March 18th and will tip-off at 9:40 p.m. ET with the game airing on CBS.

No. 7 Michigan State: 22-12 (11-9 Big Ten): At-Large

KenPom rating: 40 overall, 38 offense, 53 defense
NET ranking: 36, (5-9 vs Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Forward Gabe Brown, 11.4 points per game
Key stat: The Spartans averaged 5.1 blocks per game, the most in the Big Ten

Senior forward Marcus Bingham has been a dominant force blocking shots this season. He averages 2.2 blocks per game leading Michigan State. His 7 ft. frame also helped him lead the team in rebounding this year. The Spartans like to play through their big men with two of their top three scores being forwards. When you watch Michigan State play, you can tell that the players have bought into their roles and even though they like a “star” player, they work together really well and combine to make a force to be reckoned with.

No. 10 Davidson: 27-6 (15-3 Atlantic-10): At-Large

KenPom rating: 41 overall, 11 offense, 152 defense
NET ranking: 38 (2-2 vs Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Guard Foster Loyer, 16.6 points per game
Key stat: Davidson shot 48.5% from the field which was the best in the A-10

While Michigan State plays through its big men, the Wildcats rely on their guards. Foster Loyer and Hyunjung Lee combined for 32.9 points per game in the regular season. Davidson is a little top-heavy when it comes to scoring. They have four players that averaged over 11 points per game, but then other than a forward averaging 7.7, the rest of the team averaged less than five points per game. They are a great shooting team, but if a team is able to eliminate their starters, the Wildcats lack the depth to hang with the big teams.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: Michigan State -1
Point total: 141
Moneyline: Davidson -105, Michigan State -115

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Davidson +1
Point total pick: Over 141
Pick to Win: Davidson

The Spartans are a good team that knows how to throw their weight around the paint. They will likely win the battle beneath the basket for the majority of the game. Davidson is the better shooting team and they don’t need to force the ball down low to have success. They have to play just enough defense to support their shooting output and they can come away with an upset in the first round of the tournament.

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