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Rovell: Michigan State vs. Kansas State Sweet 16 Prediction

Rovell: Michigan State vs. Kansas State Sweet 16 Prediction article feature image

Picture by Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Izzo.

Casual bettors overvalue recent performance. It’s a simple truth, one that you should internalize in assessing market prices.

So, after No. 7 seeded Michigan State beat No. 2 seeded Marquette, the Spartans are now favorites against Kansas State in the Sweet 16 from Madison Square Garden.

How? Well, recency bias.

Let’s break down the numbers.

Michigan State — only the 69th-best team in field goal defense — somehow held Marquette to their fourth-worst performance from the field this season.

Michigan State — a team that lives and dies by the three-pointer — won by nine despite shooting 2-for-16 from the arc against Marquette. The Spartans were previously 12-2 when they shot 40% or better from three and 9-10 when shooting worse.

And the advanced metrics haven’t been all that bullish on Michigan State. Every respected ranking has Michigan State as either the third- or fourth-worst team remaining in a field of 16.

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Kansas State is the better team here, primarily on defense. The Wildcats are 15th in the country in three-point goal percentage defense (29.7%). That bodes well against a team that relies on the long ball.

And the Wildcats are 47th in the country in overall field goal percentage defense (47.5%).

That’s compared to the Spartans, who are 69th in three point goal percentage defense (31.9%) and 69th in field goal percentage defense (48.1%).

Offensively, Kansas State is far more consistent, with solid shooting percentages from everywhere on the floor, not just from three.

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Currently, Michigan State is getting credit for having Tom Izzo and for beating Marquette. While the former may be worth — at most — a half-point on the spread, the latter isn’t worth much, in my mind.

Expect Michigan State to regress toward the mean tonight and show its true, unremarkable colors.

Take Kansas State +110 at BetMGM.

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