FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2010 – MIDWEST REGION – SWEET 16 AT ST LOUIS – Northern Iowa vs Michigan St.
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No.9 Northern Iowa Panthers (30-4, 15-3 MVC)
No. 5 Michigan State Spartans (26-8, 14-4 Big 10)
Northern Iowa Panthers vs MSU Spartans Betting Odds:
The odds makers have the Spartans as -1.5 -point favorites.
Northern Iowa +1.5
The No. 9 Northern Iowa Panthers clash with the No. 5 Michigan State Spartans in the Sweet 16 round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament on Friday at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Spartans have found themselves in the Sweet Sixteen for the ninth time in 13 seasons, but this time it won’t be easy breezing all the way to the NCAA Tournament Championship game like last year. They will have to do it without star point guard Kalin Lucas who went down with in the first half of Sunday’s second-round game against Maryland. Lucas did not return to the game and most likely is done for the season.
The Spartans were up by as many as 14 but blew the lead, needing a last-second three-point shot simply to beat the Terps. MSU will also be without Chris Allen, and possibly Delvon Roe as well. Thank God for bench depth.
Sophomore backup Korie Lucious will be key from here. Lucious stepped in for the injured Lucas, scoring 13 points including the game winning 3-pointer against the Terps. However, the Spartans will need to give Lucious some help.
Players that will see more time will be Draymond Green, and Raymar Morgan. Rebounding continues to be a major edge for MSU, and they will need to capitalize on every opportunity both on the offensive and defensive glass.
It’s had been 20 years since NUI won a game in the NCAA Tournament and it came by way of upending the overall No. 1 seed Kansas as they stunned the basketball word and sent a shockwave causing a lot of people to tear up their brackets. The Panthers flexed their muscles with physical play in the paint, clutch shooting and an all-around solid defensive effort.
Northern Iowa is one of the best teams in the nation on defense – second-best, to be exact – which means they are going to be a tough out in any round. UNI isn’t the most athletic team, and their scrappy, feisty and sometimes reckless play is what keeps them in games. At the nucleus is 6-foot-6 junior forward Lucas O’Rear, the team’s goon with a team high of 73 fouls.
Ali Farokhmanesh is the new March darling after his game-winner against UNLV and then his buzzer beater to take down the Jayhawks. The club’s top six players have played together for the last two seasons, so they are familiar with each other and they have good chemistry.
On paper MSU should beat the Panthers, but the Panthers have had time to prepare.
Spartans are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite of 0.5-6.5
Spartans are 16-4-1 ATS in their last 21 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite
Spartans are 21-6-2 ATS in their last 29 games as a favorite of 0.5-6.5
Spartans are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 NCAA Tournament games
Spartans are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. Missouri Valley
Panthers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 NCAA Tournament games
Panthers are 21-6 ATS in their last 27 games vs. a team with a winning SU record
Panthers are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
Panthers are 54-24 ATS in their last 78 games as an underdog
Panthers are 38-17 ATS in their last 55 games overall
Spartans vs Panthers Free CBB Pick
Expect the Spartans to be a bit more wary then the unsuspecting Jayhawks in this one, wining by three.
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Matt Martz is a freelance writer located in Central California. Blessed is the gambler who expects nothing, for ye shall not be disappointed.