East Regional Semifinal: #3 Oklahoma Sooners vs #7 Michigan State Spartans

2015 NCAA Tournament
East Regional Semifinal
#3 Oklahoma Sooners vs #7 Michigan State Spartans
Carrier Dome – Syracuse, New York
Friday, March 15, 2015, 10:05 pm Eastern, TV: TBS
Opening Line: Michigan State -2 1/2 (-115)
Current Line: Michigan State -1 1/2

Opening Total: 133 1/2
Current Total: 135 1/2
Opening Money Line: MSU -125 / Oklahoma +105
Current Money Line: MSU -130 / Oklahoma +110

Michigan State is a slight favorite over Oklahoma in the Sweet 16 Friday.
Michigan State is a slight favorite over Oklahoma in the Sweet 16 Friday.

The 25-11 Michigan State Spartans and 24-10 Oklahoma Sooners meet in the East Regional Semifinals Friday in Syracuse. The winner will face either #4 Louisville or #8 North Carolina State in the Elite 8 Sunday. The top two seeds in the region #1 Villanova and #2 Virginia were both knocked out in the third round last weekend.

Michigan State leads the series 5-3 against Oklahoma. The Spartans won last season in Brooklyn 87-76 against the Sooners. Michigan State beat Oklahoma in the Sweet 16 in 1999.

Michigan State went 12-6 in the Big Ten and were part of a three way tie for third. The Spartans lost to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship. Michigan State was seeded #7 in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans beat #10 Georgia 70-63 in the second round and upset #2 Virginia 60-54 in the third round Sunday, both in Charlotte. Michigan State is playing in the NCAA Tournament for the 29th time and 18th straight. The Spartans have made 19 Sweet 16 trips including 4 straight. MSU went 9-8 against Tournament teams this season.

Oklahoma is 23-10 overall and finished tied for second in the Big 12 at 12-6 with Iowa State behind 13-5 Kansas. Oklahoma lost to Iowa State in the Big 12 semifinals. Oklahoma held off an upset bid from plucky #14 seed Albany in the second round with a 69-60 win and #11 Dayton 72-66 in the third round Sunday, both in Dayton . The Sooners are making their 29th tournament appearance and were the national runner-ups in 1988. Oklahoma is making their 9th trip to the Sweet 16 and first since 2009. Oklahoma went 13-5 against Tournament teams this season.

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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 20-16 ATS and the total is 19-14-2 this season. The Spartans were 4.5 point underdogs against Virginia and the total was 117.

Oklahoma is coached by Lon Kruger. The Sooners have road losses at Creighton, West Virginia, Kansas, Baylor, Kansas State and Iowa State. Oklahoma has neutral site losses to Wisconsin in the Bahamas, Washington in Las Vegas, and Iowa State in the Big 12 tournament, along with a home loss to Kansas State. Oklahoma has neutral site wins over UCLA and Butler in the Bahamas and Oklahoma State in the Big 12 tournament, home wins over Missouri, Oral Roberts, Weber State, George Mason, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Iowa State, Texas, TCU and Kansas, plus road wins over Tulsa, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas Tech and Texas. The Sooners are 16-16 ATS and the total is 12-19 this season. Oklahoma was a 4 point favorite against Dayton and the total was 129.

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.

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Oklahoma is outscoring teams 72-63 this season. The Sooners are shooting 44% from the field and 34.6% from 3 point range. Oklahoma makes 72.7% of their free throws. The Sooners are #50 nationally in free throw shooting. Opponents are shooting 38.4% from the field and 31.4% from 3 point range. Oklahoma is #14 in field goal defense and #46 in three point defense nationally. The Sooners average 38.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 33.9 per game. Oklahoma is #26 in rebounding but #328 in rebounds allowed out of 353 teams. The Sooners average 12.7 assists, 12.3 turnovers, 7.1 steals and 5.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.2 assists, 14.1 turnovers, 6.4 steals and 3.7 blocks per game.

Guard Buddy Hield averages 17 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Isaiah Cousins averages 12 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. TaShawn Thomas averages 11.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. Ryan Spangler averages 10.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game. Jordan Woodard averages 9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Dinjiyl Walker, Frank Booker and Khadeem Lattin also get minutes in the rotation. Forward Dante Buford is out for the season because of academics.

Michigan State is 7-1 ATS in non-conference games, 9-4 overall and 9-4-1 against Big 12 teams.

Oklahoma is 3-7 ATS in Friday games, 2-5 after a straight up win, 2-6 against teams with winning records, 1-4 in NCAA Tournament games, and 2-8 overall.

Oklahoma has the talent to play with almost any team in the country, but sometimes they are inconsistent. Honestly, no one knows what team will show up from game to game. Michigan state struggled earlier in the season, but has played really well since mid-February. Still, I think the Sooners win a close low scoring game.

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