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Northern Iowa vs Michigan State Picks – Injuries Will Cost Michigan State

Posted by Washington Tucker on 3/22/2010 3:01:20 PM
NCAA Basketball Odds: Northern Iowa

Online betting fans know that Northern Iowa has been one of the many Cinderella’s so far as the No. 9 seed is fresh off a win over the overall No. 1 seed Kansas. Meanwhile, Michigan State needed a miracle three-pointer of their own to earn a berth in the Sweet Sixteen but without guard Kalin Lucas, Sparty will struggle.

Northern Iowa vs Michigan State betting odds: Ohio State -4.5
  • What: NCAA Basketball Betting
  • When: Friday March 26th – 9:37 PM ET
  • Where: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MI
  • Key Stat: Northern Iowa forced 16 Kansas turnovers; Michigan State had 18 against Maryland

The Northern Iowa-Michigan State Storyline

Northern Iowa is the darling of the Midwest and as they move on to the Sweet Sixteen, everyone is starting to take a closer look at Cinderella. They’ve now realized that she’s no fluke as the Panthers have the second-best defense in the country and a senior scorer in Ali Farokhmanesh who has been among the most clutch in the tournament so far.

For Michigan State, the Spartans are not the same team that made the Championship game last year. They have played with a lot of heart in the first two rounds, especially in a win against Maryland after losing their star guard, Lucas, but his loss will be too much to overcome as they progress into the bracket.

Offensive Matchups

Northern Iowa is led by the senior, Farokhmanesh, who has put a three-point dagger both in UNLV and Kansas in the first two rounds. The Panthers offense should play well in Missouri, as they have won the last two Missouri Valley Conference titles in St. Louis. With its top six players the same over the last couple of years, this is a very experienced team. Athleticism is lacking, though, but that won’t be as evident against Michigan State, who is also lacking some of their punch.

Sports betting fans know that the Spartans are built around Lucas and Raymar Morgan – or at least they thought that to be the case. Without Lucas, other Spartans stepped up against Maryland, such as Durrell Summers, who matched a career-high with 26. Also, backup point guard Korie Lucious hit the game-winning shot.

Betting Edge: Even

Defensive Matchups

The defensive edge goes to the Panthers in this matchup as they are one of the best in the business. They are a suffocating defensive team and they force plenty of turnovers. While they aren’t very athletic, they don’t show any quit on defense and they are a tough team to play against no matter how much talent you have. See: Kansas.

Michigan State is a decent defensive team but they aren’t Northern Iowa. But they will have two advantages. Even without Lucas, they have an edge in athleticism, which they’ll have to use. And secondly, sportsbook odds makers know that Michigan State – and all Tom Izzo teams – are excellent rebounders. They will have to control the glass as they did against Maryland (42-24 edge) to stay in this game.

Betting Edge: Northern Iowa

Injuries

The Spartans are banged up. There’s a 90% chance Lucas does not play, which is a huge blow to begin with. Beyond that, guard Chris Allen is also hurting with a sprained ankle but is hoping to play this week while forward Delvon Roe has a bad knee that will require surgery when the season is over.

Betting Edge: Northern Iowa

Betting Prediction: Northern Iowa vs Michigan State Picks

Michigan State is the brand name but Northern Iowa is no fluke. They don’t cut any corners as they play with a lot of effort.

When you look at their makeup, they play defense, they are experienced and they are balanced. They are also comfortable with the environment in St. Louis.

All of those factors combined should get them the win and a berth in the Elite Eight.

Washington’s Pick: Northern Iowa

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