This Sweet Sixteen matchup favors the Spartans by about a point in March Madness odds.
March Madness betting lines have changed somewhat in this game because the Spartans have lost leading scorer Kalin Lucas. He was injured in the last game and will be out for the next four or five months. The Spartans are still favored in March Madness betting over Northern Iowa, but just barely. Michigan State survived against Maryland after Lucas was injured as Korie Lucious hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Spartans the win. It might be difficult to win again without Lucas in the lineup against a talented Panthers team. “My concerns on Northern Iowa’s team is they are one of the best, if not the best, free throw shooting team in the country,” Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said, “They’re shooting 81, 82 percent as a team. I don’t think I have anybody shooting that as an individual. And they make more free throws than their opponents shoot, so that’s a stat that following will be a big issue, and yet they’re a very physical team, with four real good inside players, two of them that can shoot long range.”
Northern Iowa upset Kansas and now they must refocus to defeat Michigan State. What helps Northern Iowa is that they have had a few days to prepare. If this was a Friday-Sunday scenario they may not have been able to get prepared after a huge win. That shouldn’t be a problem in this game. “When you hear people, the media, still calling it a Cinderella and one of the biggest upsets ever, we don’t really look it at like it was a miracle that we won the game. We feel like we compete with everybody,” forward Adam Koch said.
Northern Iowa plays suffocating defense as they are second in the nation in scoring defense. The Panthers are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games. The Panthers are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 vs. the Big Ten. The Panthers are 4-1 vs. the March Madness odds in their last 5 NCAA Tournament games.
The Spartans are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 NCAA Tournament games. The Spartans are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite. 21 of the last 29 Northern Iowa games have gone under. Five of the last seven Michigan State games as a favorite have gone over.
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