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NCAA Tournament: Michigan State Spartans vs. Kansas State Wildcats Betting Preview

The second weekend of the NCAA Tournament kicks off Thursday night in the East Region as the No. 7 Michigan State Spartans (21-12) take on the Kansas State Wildcats (25-9). This game will take place at Madison Square Garden, with tipoff scheduled for 5:30 pm ET.

Despite being the lower seed, the Spartans are the favorites in this one. They are -126 to win, while the Wildcats’ moneyline sits at +105. The spread features Kansas State as 1.5-point underdogs (-110), and the over/under for total points is 137.5.

Spartans Look To keep Rolling

Despite finishing fourth in the Big Ten, head coach Tom Izzo is showing why the Michigan State Spartans are always a tough matchup in the NCAA Tournament. Izzo will be making his 15th appearance in the Sweet 16 in this one, and he would love to seal the deal on going to his 11th Elite Eight.

Thus far in the tournament, Michigan State has taken down the likes of No. 10 USC (72-62) and No. 2 Marquette (69-60). In the win over Marquette, Tyson Walker had a game-high 23 points, while Joey Hauser had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Offensively, the Spartans rank 187th in the nation this season, averaging 70.2 points per game. Throughout the year, they have been led by both Walker (14.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists), Hauser (14.3 points, 7.1 rebounds), and A.J. Hoggard (12.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists).

Defensively, Michigan State is much better. They rank 71st in scoring defense, allowing opponents 67 points per game (63.3 in their last three contests).

Wildcats Trying To Prove Why They Are Higher Seed

At 25-9 overall and 11-7 in their Big 12, Kansas State had a solid enough season to earn them the third seed in the region. Despite their higher seeding, they come in as underdogs. On Thursday, the Wildcats will try to show why they have been considered one of the best in the nation this year.

To get to this point, Kansas State has knocked off both No. 14 Montana State (77-65) and No. 6 Kentucky (75-69). In the win over Kentucky, Markquis Nowell dominated, amassing a game-high 27 points to go along with nine assists.

In 34 games this season, Nowell was the second-leading scorer for the Wildcats, averaging 17.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 7.8 assists, and 2.4 steals. The leading scorer has been Keyontae Johnson, who averaged 17.5 points, 7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. As a unit, Kansas State ranks 60th in scoring, averaging 75.5 points per game.

On the defensive side, the Wildcats rank 126th, allowing opponents an average of 68.9 points per game.

Take The Wildcats And The Points

The round of 16 starts off with a bang with this Big Ten versus Big 12 matchup.

Coming into this game, Michigan State is 4-1 in their last five games, but they are just 1-6 against the spread in their last seven against Big 12 teams.

As for the Wildcats, they are 6-2 both straight up and against the spread in their last eight contests. Against the Big Ten, Kansas State is 4-1 against the spread in their last five.

Both of these teams were overlooked coming into this tournament, but one of them will stamp their ticket to the Elite Eight Thursday night. Tom Izzo may have the experience factor working for him, but Kansas State has proven that they can’t be counted out.

Expect this one to be close throughout, with maybe just one or two possessions determining the outcome. For that reason, take Kansas State +1.5 (-110) on the spread.

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