NCAA Basketball Betting Preview: Oakland at (15) Michigan StateOakland at (15) Michigan State
TV: Big Ten Network, 8:15 PM
Spread: MI ST -19.5
Betting Odds from Bookmaker
Oakland is a member of the Summit League, a conference that has gone 1-7 in the NCAA tournament with its current members. They are, however, one of the better teams in the Summit League.
They finished 20-16 last year with an 11-7 in-conference record. Last year ended a two year streak as conference champs, but the Grizzlies should be in the race again this year, despite losing Reggie Hamilton who averaged a nation best 26 points per game last year. Hamilton’s scoring will be replaced by Ryan Bass and Travis Bader.
Bader and Mondy are combining for 35 points per game through the Grizzlies first five games this season.
Drew Valentine and Corey Petros also look to be fixtures, and Providence transfer Duke Mondy, a 6’4″ guard, will play a prominent role as well for the Grizz this year. Petros is averaging 15.6 points per game and Valentine is at 11.8 points per game, for the Oakland squad, and they average 78 points per game, yet are still just 2-3 due to poor defense.
The Spartans made it to the Sweet 16 last year and they have a deep roster that they can throw at opponents.
Tom Izzo works his players hard and pushes the pace, so the fact that they can go 11 deep into their rotation will help the team against stronger opponents. This year, there are nine players averaging more than 14 minutes per game.
The depth is the good news. The bad news is that the Spartans have no standout players, and only one returning player averaged double-digit scoring last year, Keith Appling with 11.4 points per game. Appling is averaging 15.5 points per game this year so far, playing 35 minutes per night.
Appling is also shooting 50 percent from the floor and coming away with 2.3 steals per game. His impact has been made on both ends of the court, and the Spartans will be propelled in March by his great skills.
Appling is now a junior and he hit 41 percent from three last year. Appling will be a nice backcourt tandem with sophomore Travis Trice, who is a combo guard like Appling. They lost Draymond Green, but they may be just as good this season as last year when they went 29-8.
Appling is aided by Branden Dawson and Gary Harris, who combine to average 24.5 points per game, as the two other major contributors for the 3-1 Spartans.