(10) Minnesota vs. (2) Michigan State
Time: Saturday, 6:45 PM CST
Spread: MIST -10
Odds c/o 5dimes
#10 Minnesota was able to knock off #7 Louisville in the opening round, but now it finds itself facing the No. 2 seed Michigan State, and the Spartans are 10-point favorites in Round of 32 action. The over/under is set at 142 total points according to NCAA basketball oddsmakers at 5dimes, and the game will tip off Saturday at 6:45 PM CST on CBS.
Minnesota is led by guard Amir Coffey. Coffey sees nearly 35 minutes a game and averages 16.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.1 steals/blocks per game. Forward Jordan Murphy is No. 2 in scoring while averaging a double-double at 14.8 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. Center Daniel Oturu anchors the paint with 10.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 55 percent from the field. The Gophers averaged 70.8 points per game as a team and largely utilizes a seven-to-eight-man rotation.
Coffey closed the season strong. He had 32 points in 39 minutes against Purdue in a 73-69 win, which was followed by 23, 22, 21, and 14 point performances against Maryland, Penn State, Purdue (a second time), and Michigan. Coffey is an athletic wing who can finish well at the rim and he shoots a respectable 73 percent from the line. The Golden Gophers tallied a 9-2 record this season when Coffey scored 20-points or more in a game. Coffey got to the line 18 times in the win against Purdue and knocked down 13, so his presence as a rim attacker and his potential to get opposing bigs in foul trouble cannot be understated. At 6’8” 210 he is something of a tweener but is a talent very well fit for the NBA in the mold of a Wilson Chandler-type.
In the win over Louisville, Coffey scored 18 points on 6 of 14 shooting, including hitting 3 of 7 from three-point range. Game Kalschuer came up huge, shooting 5 of 11 from behind the arc and 8 of 14 overall en route to 24 points, eight assists, and five rebounds. The Golden Gophers shot 50 percent from the field and locked it in from behind the arc, dialing up 11 of 27 (40 percent) while also battling even against a big Cardinals team on the glass. Minnesota also did a stellar job of keeping it turnovers down with just five in the game, while coming up with 10 assisted baskets for a 2/1 A/TO team ratio. That is winning basketball.
Michigan State defeated #15 seed Bradley 76-65 in the opening round, allowing that 15-seeded pesky Braves team to hang around after trailing Bradley by a point at the half. Cassius Winston had a huge game. He shot 8 of 17 from the floor and 2 of 5 from three en route to 26 points, four assists, and three rebounds. Xavier Tillman was huge on the interior with 16 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. The Spartans shot just 42.6 percent from the floor and 5 of 19 from three in the win, but it got to the line to knock down 25 of 26 and Michigan State held a plus-10 advantage on the boards.
The Spartans closed its season with five consecutive victories and possess a top-40 defense that limits teams to 65.7 points per game. Michigan State averaged 79.1 points itself, good for a point differential of positive-13.4. During the regular season, Winston averaged 19.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game while hitting 40 percent of his triples. Joshua Langford averaged 15 points, and Nick Ward added nearly 14 points and six rebounds per game.
The Spartans are an excellent three-point shooting team with a 38.3 percent team percentage, and they also make good at the charity stripe with a 75 percent team-wide clip. Of course, most of these traits we have come to take for granted from Tom Izzo’s teams, but the Spartans are a great executing team that is capable of winning close games. One issue to keep an eye on is the fact MSU averages 13 turnovers per game while coming up with 5.3 steals and 5.5 blocks itself.
It will need to limit its miscues as it did in the first round when it surrendered the ball just nine times. Notably, however, the Spartans only assisted nine of its 23 field goals, as well. Michigan State may be 10-point favorites but it seems the margin for error still remains somewhat small against a great shooting Gophers team that really looked impressive in the opener against Louisville.