The No. 7 Michigan State Spartans pulled off the March magic once again a lower seed, defeating a higher seed in Marquette to advance to the Sweet 16. Head coach Tom Izzo has now advanced to his 15th Sweet 16 in 25 years, an amazing feat for the college basketball blue blood. Now Michigan State will turn its attention to the No. 3 Kansas State Wildcats. Head coach Jerome Tang has his team in the Sweet 16 in his first year under the helm.
The game will tip-off at 6:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 23 live from Madison Square Garden. The game will be available on TBS and streaming on the MM Live App.
No. 7 Michigan State Spartans: 21-12(11-8):
Second-round result: Michigan State 69 Marquette 60
First-round result: Michigan State 72 USC 62
KenPom rating: 26 Overall, 38 Offense, 31 Defense
NET ranking: 33, (5-9 vs. Quad 1 )
Leading scorer: Tyson Walker 14.8 PPG
Key stat: MSU shoots .38 percent from 3
Michigan State has won the first two games because they’ve turned back the clock playing stout defense once again like teams of old. They held Marquette to 38 percent shooting from the field, and Big East player of the year Tyler Kolek only scored seven points in the game.
As Walker goes, so do the Spartans. If he plays aggressively and takes the big shots late down the stretch Michigan State is dangerous.
Michigan State shoots 38 percent from deep, and Kansas State held teams to under 30 percent on the season.
No. 3 Kansas State Wildcats: 25-9 (11-7):
Second-round result: Kansas State 75 Kentucky 69
First-round result: Kansas State 77 Montana State 65
KenPom rating: 21 Overall, 47 Offense, 21 Defense
NET ranking: 24, (9-8 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Keyontae Johnson 17.5 PPG
Key stat: Kansas State holds teams to .29 percent from 3
Kansas State has gotten here on the backs of tough defense and excellent play from PG Markquis Powell.
Powell poured in 27 against Kentucky and hit several big shots down the stretch en route to victory.
Michigan State doesn’t have a wing to match up with Johnson, so he could have a big day depending on how Izzo plays him.
Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Point spread: -2 Michigan State
Point total: 137.5
Moneyline: Michigan State -135 Kansas State +115
Against The Spread Pick: MSU -2
Point total pick: Under 137.5
Pick to Win: MSU
Kansas State has been one of the best teams in the country this season, but it's difficult betting against Izzo in March. He finds a way to motivate his guys when it matters most to play at the highest level. Walker returns home to New York this week and will go head-to-head with fellow New Yorker Powell. Walker’s backcourt mate A.J Hoggard has upped his play over the past few games, and a veteran backcourt is a recipe for success in March. If Michigan State keeps up the defensive intensity it had in the first two games, it will be hard for Kansas State to get anything going, especially when they rely on Powell to get things going for them.