The No. 7 seed Michigan State Spartans face the No. 2 Marquette Golden Eagles in the second round of our March Madness picks on Sunday afternoon.
Marquette is coming off its first Big East Championship in program history in the second year of the Shaka Smart era. The Spartans had an up-and-down regular season but it's tough to count out a Tom Izzo-led team at this time of the year.
March Madness odds opened with the Golden Eagles as 2.5-point favorites with the Over/Under set at 141.5. Here are my best free college basketball picks and predictions for Michigan State vs. Marquette on March 19.
Michigan State vs Marquette best odds
Michigan State vs Marquette picks and predictions
The Michigan State Spartans have been inconsistent this season and much of their success came at the Breslin Center while they went just 4-6 on the road and 4-4 on neutral sites.
On the other hand, the Marquette Golden Eagles have gone 8-4 straight up and 9-3 against the spread on the road while going 5-1 SU and 4-1-1 ATS on neutral sites.
Michigan State has impressive overall analytics on defense but allows 71.7 points per game on 43.7% shooting away from home — significantly worse than their numbers in Lansing.
The Spartans did look good on a neutral site in their first-round victory against USC but they benefitted from a meltdown by Trojans point guard Boogie Ellis. Ellis entered that contest averaging 18.0 points per game but had almost as many fouls (5) as points (6), and his tendency to hog the ball killed a USC offense that had success when moving the ball.
Don't expect a similar situation on Sunday, with Marquette's offense anchored by Big East Player of the Year Tyler Kolek who averages 13.1 points and a conference-high 7.6 assists per game. The Golden Eagles have an extremely efficient offense and have the fifth-best ball movement and ninth-best spacing in the country per ShotQualityBets, which makes them very tough to defend. They also rank 17th in the nation in Rim and 3 rate — an analytic that measures the frequency of shots taken at the rim and from beyond the arc.
On the other side, the Spartans are just 360th in the country in Rim and 3 rate and they often settle for low-efficiency shots from midrange instead of attacking the rim. That gives MSU an offense that can find itself going cold from the floor for stretches. With the Golden Eagles playing far more consistently over the course of the season, back them on the short spread.
My best bet: Marquette -2.5 (-110 at bet365)
Looking to bet on March Madness action? Here are two of the best bonuses* available:
A) Get four 32% profit boosts to use on Round of 32 bets at DraftKings! Opt-in Now
B) Marquette to lead at halftime and win the game BOOSTED to +125 (was +100) at Tipico! Bet Now
*Eligible USA locations only. Also, check out our full list of best March Madness promotions for 2023.
21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.
Michigan State vs Marquette spread analysis
Marquette is on a 10-game winning streak and has been one of the best teams to bet on this season, going 22-12-1 ATS. The Golden Eagles had the best record in the Big East at 17-3 and then rolled to their first-ever conference championship after beating Xavier 65-51 in the tournament finals.
They had no issues in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, beating 15-seed Vermont 78-61 on Friday. The Golden Eagles are sixth in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency according to KenPom, and they haven't been bad on the defensive end of the floor either where they rank 46th.
Kolek is one of four Marquette players averaging double digits in points, with Kam Jones pacing the squad with 15.1 ppg and knocking down 2.7 treys per contest.
It's been an up-and-down season for the Spartans, who have gone 8-7 SU (7-8 ATS) in their last 15 games. They lost by 10 points to a mediocre Ohio State team missing its best player in the Big Ten quarterfinal but rebounded with a win against USC in the opening round of this tourney.
Michigan State entered that Round of 64 contest as a 2.5-point favorite and went on to win 72-62 after going on a run in the second half. The Spartans have an experienced and balanced squad that is 39th in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency while ranking 38th in adjusted defensive efficiency.
Point guard A.J. Hoggard pulls the strings for Michigan State's offense with 12.5 ppg and 6.0 apg, while guard Tyson Walker (14.5 ppg) and forward Joey Hauser (14.3 ppg) are the top scorers.
Both teams do a good job of taking care of the ball but Marquette's superior pressure has resulted in a +5.4 turnover margin per game — the third-best number in the country.
One area where MSU has the edge is on the glass, where the Spartans are 70th in the country in rebound rate (52.1%) while Marquette is outside the Top 300 at 47.3%.
Michigan State vs Marquette Over/Under analysis
Marquette likes to push the pace on offense and is 16th in the country in average length of possession on offense (15.7 seconds). However, the Golden Eagles rank just 357th in opponent average length of possession (18.7 seconds), which should ultimately give Tom Izzo's slower-paced squad plenty of time to set up in the half-court.
The Spartans are 304th in the country in adjusted tempo while limiting Division 1 foes to 67.2 ppg. However, they'll have a tough time defending a versatile Marquette offense that runs a variety of plays at a high level and can shoot the ball from anywhere on the floor.
Although the Spartans haven't been a high-scoring team this season, they shoot extremely well from beyond the arc at a sizzling clip of 39.4 3PT%. Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles rank outside the Top 250 in opponent 3-point percentage (35.1%). If they allow MSU to heat up from deep, this total could easily be eclipsed.
Michigan State vs Marquette betting trend to know
The Golden Eagles are 15-7 ATS in their last 22 games. Find more college basketball betting trends for Michigan State vs. Marquette.
Michigan State vs Marquette game info
|Location:||Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH|
|Date:||Sunday, March 19, 2023|
|Tip-off:||5:15 p.m. ET|