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NCAA Tournament Round Two Pick: #10 Minnesota vs #2 Michigan State

Can Golden Gophers Play up to Spartans?

Our Minnesota vs Michigan State preview for the 2019 NCAA Tournament Round Two East Region has the Spartans favored by 10.5 points. The 10th-seed Minnesota Golden Gophers (22-13) play the second-seed Michigan State Spartans (29-6) today, Saturday, March 23 at 7:45 pm ET. The game will be played at the Well Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA. The Gophers will want to come out scoring like they did in the first round. Additionally, keeping out of foul trouble and staying away from turnovers, both of which they did successfully in Round One will go a long way. Still, Minnesota has to contend with a team that is deep, physical, and highly skilled. MSU is currently ranked fifth in the nation.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

In Round One, the Minnesota Golden Gophers met the seventh-seed Louisville Cardinals. The Gophers went in as the underdogs but came out the winners. Minnesota led at the half, 38-33, and in the second half, as they had in the first, they outscored the Cardinals by five points. The final was the Golden Gophers 86 and Louisville 76. There were two major keys to this game. The first was Minnesota’s shooting from the field, as the put in 50.0% of their field goals and 40.7% of their three-pointers. The second key was turnovers. The Gophers had just five. In addition, Louisville committed 22 fouls and Minnesota had just 15. Discipline was key in this victory.

All five Minnesota starters scored in double digits. Guard Gabe Kalscheur led the team in points with 24 and rebounds with eight. Also in the backcourt, Dupree McBrayer added 13 points while topping the team in assists with four. Guard Amir Coffey and forward Jordan Murphy scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds each. Our Minnesota vs Michigan State preview observes that the team’s assists totaled 10 and that lack of ball movement could be detrimental against a team like the Spartans.

Michigan State Spartans

On Thursday in the initial round of play in this 2019 NCAA Tournament, MSU beat the Bradley Braves 76-65. The Braves kept it close in the first half, as the score was 35-34 in favor of Bradley. It was back-and-forth until the final four minutes of the second half when the Spartans finally pulled away and took over the lead for good. Our Minnesota vs Michigan State preview finds that in the game, the Spartans were hampered by their three-point shooting, which had a success rate of just 26.3%. However, they were helped by 26 foul shots, 25 of which they converted. MSU shot 42.6% from the floor.

For the Spartans, forward Xavier Tillman had a huge game. Tillman scored 16 points and brought down 11 rebounds. The leading scorer for MSU was guard Cassius Winston who put in 26 points while making four assists and grabbing three offensive rebounds. At guard Matt McQuaid scored 10, while forward scored eight points and took down five rebounds in just 10 minutes of play. The Spartans, like the Gophers, had precious few assists in their first game.

NCAA Tournament Round One – Minnesota vs Michigan State Preview Pick

In the regular season these two teams met once and Michigan State dominated Minnesota 76-55. We think the same thing can happen in this game. The Golden Gophers don’t match up well against the Spartans. Even if they do shoot well, their lack of ball movement will be a major hindrance to their ability to get good shots off. Our Minnesota vs Michigan State preview likes the Michigan State Spartans at -10.5.

Summary East Region, Round Two – Minnesota vs Michigan State Preview & Pick: Michigan State Spartans at -10.5


Paul has been writing about sports betting and sports for more than a decade, offering picks on the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA, as well as on college sports and European football. He's written thousands of season and post-season previews, innumerable articles on sports betting strategies, and various books on sports and sports betting.

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