When Tom Izzo asked Miles Bridges to step his game up for the Michigan State Spartans on Friday, Bridges took over.
Syracuse had to play in the First Four just to make it to the Big Dance and the Orange are making the most of their opportunity now that they’re here. They dropped TCU as a five-point underdog on Friday. Meanwhile, Michigan State came into the tournament as a No. 3 seed with the potential to cut down the nets. They have been a March Madness betting favourite for months, but they’re struggling to cover point spreads lately.
NCAA Tournament Odds and Betting Analysis
Michigan State was set around +600 to win the NCAA Tournament earlier this month and has just four outright losses on its record this season. However, the Spartans haven’t been nearly as consistent against the spread (ATS). They head into Sunday’s March Madness matchup at 15-17-2 ATS overall after failing to cover the spread for the fourth straight game in their win over Bucknell. Syracuse is riding a 4-1 run against the spread and is pegged as an 8-point underdog.
The Orange are playing with house money in this matchup and have nothing to lose after upsetting TCU. The Orange’s nasty 2-3 zone defence held a TCU team that averages more than 80 points per game to a season-low 52 points in Friday’s win. They’ll need to be just as tough defensively to have a shot at upsetting the Spartans. However, you have to wonder if fatigue will play a factor on Sunday. The Orange only have seven players on scholarship and need their top five players to log a lot of minutes. This will be the third pressure-packed game this team will have played in the last four days.
Michigan State Spartans
If the Michigan State Spartans are going to go deep in this tournament, they’re going to need Miles Bridges to take charge. Head coach Tom Izzo knows that all too well. That’s why he sat Bridges down briefly in Friday’s win over Bucknell, challenging the sophomore to put the team on his back. Bridges responded in a big way, finishing with 29 points in the 82-78 victory.
Michigan State supporters would be a lot more comfortable with their bets if the Spartans could start hitting their treys and free throws. The Spartans hit 41 percent of their three-pointers on the year (sixth best in the country), but were 5-of-17 from outside and 68 percent from the stripe against Bucknell.