2014 NCAA Tournament East Region Picks: (1) Virginia Cavaliers vs. (4) Michigan State Spartans
Betting odds courtesy of Bovada
The Virginia Cavaliers have the nation’s toughest defense and are the ACC champs—and a No. 1 seed—but will enter its Sweet 16 matchup against Michigan State as 2.5 point underdogs according to college basketball odds listed at Bovada. Virginia defeated Coastal Carolina and Memphis to reach this showdown against another tough Tom Izzo coached MSU team.
Virginia thoroughly dominated Memphis, winning 78-60. The win advanced the Cavaliers to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1995. Virginia shot 55.6 percent from the floor in the victory and five Cavaliers scored in double figures, paced by Joe Harris’ 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Virginia isn’t a high scoring team, as a result of playing a slower pace, but it can score when needed. Maclolm Brogdon led the team in scoring at 12.6 points per game and Harris contributed just under 12, as well.
Michigan State advanced to the Sweet 16 by defeating Delaware and Harvard. Branden Dawson scored 26 points on 12-of-15 shooting in the win over the Crimson, and guard Gary Harris scored 18. Harris leads the team in scoring at 16.9 points per game, and the Spartans also get heavy contributions from Adreian Payne.
Payne ranked second on the team in rebounding (7.3 per game) and second in scoring at 16.6 points per game, and many feel he would be a high selection in the 2014 draft if he were not already 23 years old. Keith Appling also is trying to hep his draft bid by showing he’s capable of leading a team to a national championship. Appling’s playmaking abilities have been questioned, but he’s averaging 11.7 points and 4.6 assists per game while shooting 45.5 percent from the floor. He could be a late first round pick in June.
MIST Trends: UNDER 6-2 in last 8 Friday games.
VIR Trends: 1-8 ATS in last 9 Friday games; OVER 7-2 in last 9 neutral site games; 16-5-2 ATS in last 23 games overall.