Sunday, March 28, 2010

March Madness: NCAA Basketball Spreads Preview Tennessee vs. Michigan State

Sharps are winning, squares are hurting in betting the NCAA basketball odds. Luckily Bodog continues to pay pro bettors on time. They take a look at Michigan State vs. Tennesse.

If you had No. 6 Tennessee facing No. 5 Michigan State facing off in the Midwest Region final, well, you are a much smarter person than I am. Certainly Sunday's game in St. Louis is the most unlikely of the four matchups for spots in the Final Four this weekend, with the Vols opening as 2-point favorites on Bodog's NCAA Basketball Odds  

Many so-called experts expected Michigan State (27-8, 14-20 ATS) to lose to Northern Iowa on Friday night as the Spartans played their first game of the tournament without injured star point guard Kalin Lucas, who is done for the year. But Lucas' replacement, Korie Lucious, was excellent in the 59-52 win against UNI with 10 points (including a key late score), six rebounds, four assists and four steals. MSU's calling card under Coach Tom Izzo is rebounding and defense, and the Spartans killed Northern Iowa on the boards, 31-20, and held the Panthers to no field goals in the game's final 10-plus minutes Friday. This will be the seventh regional final for Sparty under Izzo, and his teams are 5-1 in the previous six.

Tennessee is in its first Elite Eight after upsetting Ohio State, 76-73 on Friday night. Wayne Chism was the star for the Vols with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Remember that the Vols are accomplishing all this without Tyler Smith, who was regarded as the team's best player but was kicked off the team earlier this season following an arrest. UT is certainly no fluke, having now beaten conference champions Ohio State, Kansas and Kentucky this year.

This game could well come down to which team wins the battle of the glass, as the Vols dominated Ohio State in rebounding and are plus-6.3 in rebounding margin in this tournament, but Michigan State is arguably the nation's best rebounding team. No doubt UT will try and pressure MSU whenever it can, especially with Lucas not on the floor. It's almost too bad that Michigan State wasn't ranked in the Top 5 of the final polls of the regular season, because the Vols have won four of their past six against Top 5 teams. Look for this to be a fairly low-scoring physical game. These two haven't met since 1994.

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