East Region Second Round: #10 Georgia Bulldogs vs #7 Michigan State Spartans

2015 NCAA Tournament
East Region Second Round
#7 Michigan State Spartans vs #10 Georgia Bulldogs
Time Warner Arena – Charlotte, North Carolina
Friday, March 20, 2015, 12:40 pm Eastern, TV: TruTV
Opening Line: Michigan State -5 1/2
Current Line: Michigan State -6
Opening Total: 128 1/2
Current Total: 127
Opening Money Line: Michigan State -245 / Georgia +205
Current Money Line: Michigan State -260 / Georgia +220

Michigan State is a 6 point favorite against Georgia Friday in Charlotte.
Michigan State is a 6 point favorite against Georgia Friday in Charlotte.

The 23-11 Michigan State Spartans and 21-11 Georgia Bulldogs meet for the first time ever Friday in the East region second round in Charlotte. The winner will face either the #2 seed Virginia Cavaliers or #15 Belmont Bruins in the third round Sunday.

Georgia tied for third with four other teams at 11-7 in the SEC. The Bulldogs lost 60-49 to Arkansas in the SEC semifinals last Saturday. Georgia is making their 12th ever trip to the NCAA Tournament and first since 2011. The bulldogs went 2-6 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

Michigan State went 12-6 in the Big Ten and finished in a 3 way tie for third. The Spartans lost to Wisconsin 80-69 in overtime in the Big Ten Championship game last Sunday. Michigan State is playing in their 18th straight NCAA Tournament. The Spartans went 7-8 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

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Georgia is coached by Mark Fox. The Bulldogs have home losses to Arkansas, Auburn, South Carolina, and Kentucky, neutral site losses to Gonzaga and Minnesota in the pre-season NIT in Madison Square Garden, and Arkansas in the SEC tournament in Nashville, along with road losses to Georgia Tech, LSU, South Carolina and Kentucky. Georgia has home wins over Stony Brook, Troy, Florida Atlantic, Colorado, Seton Hall, Florida, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Missouri, a neutral site win over South Carolina in the SEC Tournament and road wins over Chattanooga, Kansas State, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Alabama, Ole Miss, and Auburn. The Bulldogs are 18-11-2 ATS and the total is 15-14 this season. Georgia was a 2.5 point underdog against Arkansas and the total was 145.5.

Michigan State is coached by Tom Izzo. The Spartans have neutral site losses to Duke in Indianapolis, Kansas in a tournament in Orlando, and Wisconsin in Chicago. Michigan State has road losses at Notre Dame, Maryland, Nebraska and Wisconsin, along with home losses to Texas Southern, Maryland, Illinois and Minnesota. The Spartans have home wins over Santa Clara, Oakland, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, Northwestern, Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State and Purdue, neutral site wins over Rider and Marquette in Orlando, Ohio State and Maryland in Chicago, along with road wins over Navy, Iowa, Rutgers, Northwestern, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. Michigan State is 18-16 ATS and the total is 18-13-2 this season. The Spartans were 7 point underdogs against Wisconsin and the total was 128.

Georgia is outscoring teams 68-64 this season. The Bulldogs are shooting 43.5% from the field and 34.4% from 3 point range. Georgia makes 68.9% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 38.7% from the field and 31% from 3 point range. The Bulldogs are #34 or better in both categories nationally. Georgia averages 38 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.2. The Bulldogs are #25 nationally in rebounding. Georgia averages 12.6 assists, 12.8 turnovers, 5.6 blocks and 4.7 blocks per game. Opponnets average 10.3 assists, 11.1 turnovers, 6.1 steals and 3.8 blocks per game.

Marcus Thornton averages 12.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1.2 blocks per game. Kenny Gaines averages 11.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. He is probable with a foot injury. Nemanja Djurisic averages 11.1 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. Charles Mann averages 10.9 points, 5 rebounds and 3.7 assists. J.J. Frazier averages 9.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Four other palyers will get significant minutes in the rotation. Juwan Parker is probable with an Achilles’ injury.

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Michigan State is outscoring teams 73-62 this season. The Spartans are shooting 47.4% from the field including 39.3% from 3 point range. Michigan State is #30 or better nationally in both categories. The Spartans are #329 in free throw shooting out of 353 teams at 63.6% from the line. Opponents are looking 38.9% from the field and 30.3% from 3 point range. The Spartans are #25 or better in both categories. MSU averages 38.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 27.1. The Spartans are #27 or better in both categories. Michigan State averages 17.3 assists, 12.1 turnovers, 5.4 steals and 4.5 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.2 assists, 11 turnovers, 5.9 steals and 2.5 blocks per game.

MSU guard Denzel Valentine averages 14.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. He is probable with an ankle injury. Travis Trice averages 14.1 points, 3.4 rebounds 5.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Brandon Dawson averages 12.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.6 blocks per game. Bryn Forbes averages 8.9 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. Matt Costello averages 7.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. Gavin Schilling averages 5.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Marvin Clark, Jr., Javon Bess and Lourawls Nairn, Jr. will also get minutes in the rotation. Bess is out indefinitely with a foot injury.

Georgia is 5-1-1 ATS in non-conference games, 5-1 against teams with winning records, 16-5 after scoring less than 50 points,19-6-1 after failing to cover, 3-1-1 Friday games, 5-2 overall and 2-5-1 against Big Ten teams.

Michigan State is 5-1 ATS in non-conference games, 20-6 after a straight up loss, 5-2-1 against SEC teams, 2-8-1 in neutral site games and 0-4-1 in NCAA Tournament games.

Michigan State struggled earlier in the season and their tourney hopes were in doubt. however, since early February they have been much better. This team has the talent to make a Final Four run. I think they beat Georgia in a close game.

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