Kansas State vs Michigan State Odds, Prediction | Sweet 16 Betting Guide
Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images. Pictured: Kansas State Wildcat Markquis Nowell.
Kansas State vs Michigan State Odds
|Kansas State Odds|
-110o / -110u
|Michigan State Odds|
-110o / -110u
The NCAA tournament Sweet 16 kicks off with a matchup between two programs that feature vastly different playing styles and perceptions from casual fans.
The (7) Michigan State Spartans are led by a Hall of Fame coach who preaches toughness and defensive intensity in Tom Izzo. The Spartans, despite all their success in recent decades, do not consistently churn out NBA lottery picks at the rate of Kentucky or Duke.
Instead, their brand is defined by players like Draymond Green, Raymar Morgan and Cassius Winston. Those Spartan greats took on the personality of their coach.
Meanwhile, the (3) Kansas State Wildcats are led by first-year head coach Jerome Tang. While nowhere near Hall of Fame status, Tang may ultimately earn that distinction if he continues the pace of his inaugural campaign.
Kansas State prefers to play a much different style than Michigan State. The Wildcats were often forced to adapt their play in a physical, defensive-minded Big 12 by slowing their tempo.
However, Tang’s preferred style mimics that of Scott Drew and Baylor. Having served under Drew for many seasons, Tang is content to play in transition and trust the talent of his backcourt. In particular, Markquis Nowell has garnered Tang’s faith in their first season together.
Contrasting approaches between the two opponents in this East regional semifinal are evident. The team that manages to bring its opponent into a game played at its preferred tempo will likely be the clinching factor in earning a place in the Elite Eight.
Even in the wildest dreams of EMAW nation, it’s hard to imagine a Sweet 16 would come just one year after Bruce Weber’s tenure mercifully concluded.
Not only are the Wildcats now in the Sweet 16, they are a perceived — but clearly not an actual — favorite as the third seed against the seventh seed.
For a couple of the Wildcats’ leaders, a spot in this East regional will mean a little more. Both Nae’Qwan Tomlin and Nowell are originally from New York, the same city that will serve as host of the East regional.
If you have followed Nowell’s story this year, you likely know he has not returned home in three full years. Nowell stayed in Manhattan, Kansas, throughout the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
He also chose to stay on campus over major breaks and holidays to work on his game.
When the bracket was revealed and the committee placed Nowell’s Wildcats in the East, one could only imagine the added motivation he felt.
A fearless shooter and a willing playmaker, Nowell is the reason Kansas State got past Kentucky. He played with poise and speed, managing to outrun Kentucky’s attempts to blitz him as he crossed mid-court.
By Nowell’s own admission, he plays with the flair of someone who learned basketball in the famous parks of New York City. He will not be scared of this moment. If he’s oozing with confidence, expect his teammates to follow suit.
Michigan State was seemingly on a similar track to recent disappointing years just a few short weeks ago.
Before we understood just how good Penn State was playing, we witnessed a scene between Izzo and his backcourt leader A.J. Hoggard, with the two bickering in the closing moments of a loss to the Nittany Lions in the Big Ten Tournament.
Somehow, Izzo and his team were able to put those visible signs of trouble aside. Michigan State was able to discard of both USC and Marquette in a three-day span to earn a Sweet 16 date with Kansas State at Madison Square Garden.
Defense has again been the foundation of Michigan State’s tournament success. The Spartans were able to bother an elite scorer in USC’s Boogie Ellis in the Round of 64. Ellis managed only six points while shooting 3-for-12 from the field.
Then Izzo was able to muster a game plan that forced an offensive powerhouse into ineptitude.
Marquette, led by Big East Player of the Year Tyler Kolek, was one of the best scoring teams in the country. The Golden Eagles played unselfishly throughout the year and proved they were willing to take whatever an opponent’s defense would give them.
Michigan State forced Marquette and Kolek into their worst performance of the year at the worst time. Kolek turned the ball over a season-high six times and looked nothing like the player he had been.
Izzo’s Spartans were able to do it again, resulting in rare smiles and claps from the often stern head coach.
On this occasion, the Spartans will have their hands full in trying to force Kansas State into making the same mistakes as Marquette and USC.
Nowell is an extremely experienced leader for Kansas State. I would be extremely surprised if Michigan State’s pressure is able to force Nowell into the same turnovers Kolek made.
Kansas State vs Michigan State Betting Pick
Unders have been a blind winner throughout most of the NCAA tournament.
A number of factors seem to be contributing to the success of Unders, including tighter rims, a new — and less preferable — type of Wilson basketball, unfamiliar settings and possibly nerves.
I would like to think the success of Unders will regress back to the mean. Consequently, I lean towards taking the Over in this matchup, hoping there will be turnovers and plenty of fouls in what figures to be a physical contest.
However, Gene Steratore’s comments about officials having a tendency to allow more contact in the second weekend and beyond are enough to scare me off. Thus, I have no conviction on the total.
I think Michigan State is getting a lot of respect here. This is deserved, given the program’s resume boasts a historically great coach and a proven ability to peak at the most important time each season.
However, recent years have indicated the Spartans are not quite the same team they were in the 2000s.
The best two players on the court in this matchup will be wearing a shade of purple. Nowell and Keyontae Johnson have been outstanding all season and are the reason why the Wildcats exceeded low expectations.
Kansas State struggled to make shots until it mattered most in the last four minutes against Kentucky. Even though Nowell ended Kentucky’s season, John Calipari managed to slight him in his postgame presser, calling Nowell that “little kid.”
Slights like Calipari’s don’t seem to bother Nowell and Kansas State. I expect them to use those comments — and the fact that they are an underdog against a higher seed — as further fuel.
Back in “The Big Apple” all the way from “The Little Apple,” expect Nowell to again overcome the odds and keep his Wildcats dancing.
Pick: Kansas State +2 (Bet to PK)
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