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NCAA Tournament Odds Duke Blue Devils vs Michigan State Spartans

The Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament is here and we will see the Michigan State Spartans take on the Duke Blue Devils at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianaolis, Indiana. The game is scheduled for a 9:45 pm (Eastern) start time and will be televised on CBS. Currently the Odds for the game have Duke favored by 2 points while the total sits at 134.

Analysis: This marks the 37th NCAA Tournament appearance for Duke, which boasts of a 98-32 all-time record in the event, including an 81-24 mark under Mike Krzyzewski, the most tournament wins by any coach in Division I history. With tournament wins this year over Albany (73-61) and Creighton (66-50) in Midwest regional action in Philadelphia last week, Duke is one win shy of the 13th 30- win campaign in school history, all under Coach K. The win over the Bluejays in the third round was also the 2,000th in program history, making Duke one of just four schools to reach that win total, joining Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina. Assistant Chris Collins will reportedly accept the coaching vacancy at Northwestern at the end of the season. On the court, Duke turned in its second-worst shooting performance of the season (38.8 percent) against the Bluejays, but held the country’s second-best shooting team to season lows in points and shooting percentage (30.2). Although freshman Amile Jefferson’s two-point, two-rebound performance in 11 minutes wasn’t particularly noteworthy, his defensive effort against All-American forward Doug McDermott – who finished 4-of-16 – played a key role the Blue Devils’ win. Mason Plumlee, Josh Hairston and Ryan Kelly all battled foul trouble. Duke secured its 2,000th victory Sunday, becoming the fourth team to accomplish the feat. Duke will put the Spartan defense to the test with explosive and balanced scoring. The team has a dynamic inside/out combination in guard Seth Curry (17.3 ppg, .426 from 3-point range) and forward Mason Plumlee (17.2 ppg, 10.0 rpg). The scoring depth continues with perimeter threats Ryan Kelly (13.3 ppg. .459 from 3-point range), Quinn Cook (12.0 ppg, .401 from 3-point range) and Rasheed Sulaimon (11.7 ppg).

Tom Izzo's Spartans are making their fifth trip to the Sweet 16 in the last six seasons. Behind strong defense, MSU made light work of the competition in the first two games of this event, topping both Valparaiso (65-54) and Memphis (70-48) to improve to 56-25 all-time. Michigan State is making its 27th appearance in the Big Dance and its 16th straight. Keith Appling practiced Monday and “is going to be fine,” according to coach Tom Izzo, after injuring his left patellar tendon during the Spartans’ victory over Valparaiso and aggravating a shoulder injury against Memphis. Adreian Payne recorded his first double-double in the NCAA Tournament with 14 points and 10 rebounds against the Tigers. He also added a career-high five blocks, a single-game record by a Michigan State player in a NCAA Tournament game. Gary Harris’ 23 points Saturday were the most by a Spartans freshman in the Big Dance since Shawn Respert scored 27 against Cincinnati in 1992. Michigan State has been getting it done at both ends of the court this season, scoring nearly 70 ppg, while allowing fewer than 60. The Spartans are led by standout performers Keith Appling (13.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.7 apg) and Harris (12.9 ppg, .413 3-point FG percentage), the latter of which was tabbed as the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year. Payne (10.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg) rounds out the unit's double-digit scorers.

Pick: These teams met back in 2011 and 143 points were scored, while their 2010 meeting put up 163 points. Not sure we will get the latter, but these teams are more than capable of putting up at least 143, especially in what should be a physical uptempo game. Michigan State is not really a fast tempoed team, but they will run with some teams and you can bet that Duke will look to run in this one. The Blue Devils are 5th in the nation in offensive efficiency and 93rd in tempo, while averaging 77.8 ppg on the year. Defense has been a problem at times for Duke, especially away from home, where they allow 70 ppg on 47% shooting. Duke is very inconsistent on defense as they have allowed 61 or less in 5 of their last 10 games, but 68 or more in their other 5 games, including 83 to Maryland twice and 73 to Virginia, all on the road. Michigan State comes in allowing 58.9 ppg overall, but away from home they have allowed 64 ppg and I feel that this very good Duke offense will tag them for at least 70 here. Sparty should also be good for at least 70 in this one. They do average just 65.1 ppg away from home, bu they come in shooting very well overall (46.7% L5 games) and from long range (35.7% L5 games), plus hey hit 70+% of their FT's. In an uptempo game both teams should have plenty of scoring chances, which should net us at least 140 points here. 

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