Midwest Region Second Round: #1 Kansas Jayhawks vs #9 Michigan State Spartans

2017 NCAA Tournament
Midwest Region – Second Round
#1 Kansas Jayhawks vs #9 Michigan State Spartans
Sunday, March 19, 2017, 5:15 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Bank of Oklahoma Center – Tulsa, Oklahoma
Opening Line: Kansas -8
Current Line: Kansas -7 1/2
Opening Total: 147 1/2
Current Total: 148 1/2
Opening Money Line: Kansas -370 / Michigan State +310
Current Money Line: Kansas -340 / Michigan State +280

Kansas and Michigan State meet in the second round of the Midwest region Sunday in Tulsa.

Two of college basketball’s elite programs meet in the Midwest Region Second Round Sunday in Tulsa as the #1 seed Kansas Jayhawks take on the #9 Michigan State Spartans. The winner will advance to the Sweet 16 later this week in Kansas City to face the #4 seed Purdue Boilermakers.

Michigan State leads the series 7-5 against Kansas, but the series is tied 1-1 in the NCAA tournament. This is the fourth time in the last five seasons the teams have played including a 79-73 win by Michigan State in 2015 in Chicago.

Michigan State is coached by Tom Izzo. The Spartans are 20-14 this season and finished in a four way tie for fifth in the Big Ten at 10-8. MSU beat Penn State 78-51 in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament in Washington but beaten by Minnesota 68-63 in the quarters. Michigan State is the #9 seed in the Midwest region and beat #8 Miami-(FL) 78-58 in the first round Friday. The Spartans are making their 31st appearance in the tournament including 20 straight times. They have made the Sweet 16 19 times in history.

Michigan State has neutral site losses to Arizona in Honolulu, Kentucky in New York City, Baylor in the Bahamas, Penn State in Philadelphia, and Minnesota in Washington. The Spartans have road losses at Duke, Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan, Purdue, Illinois, and Maryland, plus home losses to Northeastern and Purdue. The Spartans have home wins over  Florida Gulf Coast, Oral Roberts, Oakland, Northwestern, Rutgers, Minnesota, Michigan,  Iowa, Ohio State, Nebraska and Wisconsin. Michigan State has road wins over Minnesota and Nebraska, plus neutral site wins over St. John’s and Wichita State in the Bahamas, and Penn State in Washington. The Spartans are 18-15 ATS and the total is 16-17 this season. Michigan State was a 1.5 point underdog against Miami and the total was 126.

Kansas is coached by Bill Self. The Jayhawks are 29-4 this season and won the Big 12 regular season title with a 16-2 record. It was the 13th straight season that Kansas won at least a share of the regular season title. However, the Jayhawks were upset by TCU 85-82 in the Big 12 quarters in Kansas City. Kansas is the #1 seed in the Midwest and beat #16 UC-Davis 100-62 in the first round Friday. The Jayhawks are making their 46th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. They have made the NCAA Tournament every year except 1989 since 1984. The Jayhawks have made 29 trips to the Sweet 16.

The Jayhawks have neutral site losses to Indiana in Honolulu and TCU in Kansas City,  a road loss at West Virginia and a home loss to Iowa State. Kansas has neutral site wins over Duke in New York City, UAB, Georgia and Davidson in Kansas City, plus home wins over Long Beach State, Stanford, Nebraska, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Texas, Baylor, West Virginia, TCU, and Oklahoma. Kansas has road wins at UNLV, TCU, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kentucky, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma State. The Jayhawks are 12-18-1 ATS and the total is 15-16 this season. Kansas was a 22.5 point favorite against UC Davis and the total was 144.

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Michigan State is outscoring teams 72-68 this season. The Spartans are shooting 47.1% from the field including 37.4% from 3 point range. Michigan State is #69 or better nationally in both categories. The Spartans are 66.8% from the free throw line. Opponents are shooting 40.7% from the field and 34.4% from 3 point range. The Spartans are #32 in field goal defense. MSU averages 36.7 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.8. Michigan State averages 17 assists, 14.1 turnovers, 4.4 steals and 4.7 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.8 assists, 11 turnovers, 5.9 steals and 3 blocks per game.

Miles Bridges averages 16.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. Nick Ward averages 13.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. Eron Harris averaged 10.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. He is out for the season with a knee injury. Joshua Langford, Cassius Winston, and  Alvin Ellis III all average at least 6.6 points per game. Three other players get time in the rotation. Forwards Gavin Schilling and Ben Carter are both out for the season with knee injuries.

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Kansas is out scoring teams 83-72 this season. The Jayhawks are #15 in scoring nationally. Kansas is shooting 48.9% from the field and 40.6% from 3 point range. The Jayhawks are #11 in field goal percentage and #5 in three point shooting nationally. Kansas makes 67.1% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.7% from the field and 35.3% from 3 point range. The Jayhawks  average 39.1 rebounds a game and opponents average 31.6 per game. Kansas is #18 in rebounding nationally. The Jayhawks average 16.4 assists, 13.1 turnovers, 6.9 steals and 4.7 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.7 assists, 13.5 turnovers, 7 steals and 3.7 blocks per game.

Guard Frank Mason III averages 20.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Guard Josh Jackson averages 16.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. Guard Devonte’ Graham averages 13.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk averages 9.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1 steal a game. LaGerald Vick averages 7.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Landen Lucas averages 8.1 points and 8.5 rebounds a game. Center Udoka Azubuike (wrist) is out indefinitely.

Michigan State is 5-2 ATS in NCAA tournament games and overall, 11-5-1 against Big 12 teams, 4-9 as a neutral site underdog, 3-7 as an underdog, and 1-4 as an underdog of between 7-12.5 points. The Spartans have covered six of the last seven times against the Jayhawks.

Kansas is 5-1 ATS as an NCAA Tournament favorite, 4-1 in NCAA Tournament games and against teams with winning records, 13-5 in neutral site games, 5-2 after scoring more than 90 points and overall, 12-5 as a neutral site favorite, 6-13 after a straight up win, 6-16 against Big Ten teams, and 2-10 after a cover. The under is 4-1 in this series recently.

Kansas has way more talent this season than Michigan State. The Spartans have been inconsistent this season as they undergo a rebuilding year. However, never count out Tom Izzo. The Spartans have knack for knocking off lower seeded teams in the tournament, like when they went all the way to the 2015 Final Four as a #7 seed. Still, I like Kansas to win a close game and advance to the regionals.

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