March Madness rolls on in the East Region with two Round of 32 tilts on the NCAA Tournament betting board. Jason Logan breaks down the odds and action with his best bets and predictions for Minnesota vs. Michigan State, and LSU vs. Maryland.
Odds: LSU -2.5 145 at FanDuel Sportsbook
Start Time: 12:10 p.m. ET, VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Florida
The Tigers leaned on their size and athleticism to hold off Yale in the Round of 64, out-rebounding the smaller Bulldogs 42-33. Now, LSU takes on a Maryland team that stands taller than them, ranked 47th in height and 16th in total rebounds (39.2 per game).
Facing taller foes isn’t anything new to Louisiana State, which took on eight SEC opponents (12 games) that towered over them. However, the Tigers mustered on average just 76.6 points per game in regulation in those dozen matchups – a dip from their 81.3 scoring average on the season.
Louisiana State looks to attack the rim and draw fouls, picking up almost 23 percent of its offense off of free throws. In those games against taller SEC opponents, they were extra aggressive, but they may not get those freebie points versus the Terps.
Maryland has done a good job keeping the whistles from blowing, getting called for an average of just 15.5 personal fouls per game and allowing opponents to collect just 17 percent of their points from free throws.
The Terrapins held their ground against aggressive Big Ten foes like Iowa and Minnesota, who also depend on getting to the line. Maryland won both meetings with the Gophers and knocked off Iowa, allowing an average of 64 points in those three games.
Louisiana State will need to find another way to put up points, and I’m going Under the Tigers’ team total of 73.5 Saturday.
Odds: MSU -10, 142 at FanDuel Sportsbooks
Start Time: 7:45 p.m. ET, Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa
The Golden Gophers benefitted from a March miracle in their opening game versus Louisville Thursday. After averaging only 5.4 made 3-pointers all season (13th fewest in the country), Minnesota was money from beyond the arc, knocking down 11 triples on 41 percent shooting from outside.
I’m not buying it. The Gophers were 10 for 36 from distance in the three games prior to Thursday and face a pissed-off Michigan State team coming off a very uncomfortable win over Bradley in the Round of 64.
Michigan State defeated Minnesota 79-55 as a 13.5-point home favorite back on February 9, limiting the Gophers to 36 percent shooting from the floor (5 for 14 from 3-point land). The Spartans pulled away in the second half with 44 points in the final 20 minutes, which has been somewhat of a calling card for MSU.
Michigan State sprung for 42 second-half points Thursday and is averaging 40.6 points in the final 20 minutes over the last five games. With Minnesota coming back to earth and Izzo lighting a fire under this team, I’m going to ride those strong showings after the break with a play on MSU -4.5 second-half spread at FanDuel Sportsbooks.
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