Mississippi State vs Michigan State: Betting odds, predictions, pick and promos
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Mississippi State vs Michigan State: Betting odds, predictions, pick and promos

Mar 19, 2024

Set to kick off the first matchup of the official round of 64, Mississippi State will face Michigan State in the 8 vs 9 matchup in the West Region of the bracket.

Despite being the slightly lower seed, the Michigan State Spartans have opened up as narrow favorites in the matchup with Tom Izzo’s track record as an underdog as strong evidence for why this should be the case.

The legendary coach has won an NCAA record 16 games in the tournament as a lower seed and will be attempting to add to this in this year’s matchup. Even still, every team is different and this Mississippi State team has proven why they should not be taken lightly throughout the year.

Both teams also have to be careful not to be caught looking ahead at the matchup with the top-seeded University of North Carolina that likely awaits the winner of this game. This game will take place at the Spectrum Center in North Carolina.

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Mississippi State (8) vs Michigan State (9) preview

The Mississippi State Bulldogs produced a 21-13 record this season but went just 8-10 in SEC play. They finished the season as the 31st ranked team in the NET Rankings with some impressive victories over Washington State, Auburn, and Tennessee twice as a driving reason.

Even still, there are reasons for concern as the Bulldogs went just 4-9 in Quad 1 matchups and had concerning losses against Georgia Tech and Southern University. They were defeated by Florida in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament during conference play.

After making the NCAA Tournament last year, Mississippi State returned 80.9% of its scoring production and 75.8% of its minutes played with the hopes of making an even deeper run. 

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BetMGM – Click to grab offer

Michigan State had an up-and-down season going 19-14 on the year and 10-10 in conference play. Even so, they come in as the 24th team ranked in the NET due to some notable victories over Illinois, Indiana State, Baylor, Butler, Minnesota, Michigan, and Penn State.

Even still, the Spartans went just 3-9 in Quad 1 matchups and 6-5 against Quad 2 opponents. They also have kept a great deal of familiarity within their roster as 75.9% of the minutes played on last year’s team and 74.9% of the scoring production remain on the roster. Michigan State will be looking to build off their Sweet 16 run last year and will be looking at many of the same candidates to get them there. 

Both these teams have plenty of experience and play smart, defensive-minded basketball. Expect this to be a grind-it-out style of play with neither team running away with things.

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Mississippi State vs Michigan State odds

Odds courtesy of BetMGM

  • Spread: Michigan State -1.5 at -105 odds
  • Moneyline: Michigan State is -120 favorites while Mississippi State is +100 on the moneyline
  • Total: Over/Under 130.5

Mississippi State vs Michigan State analysis

On the season, Mississippi State averaged 74.8 points per game which ranks 145th in the country, and is holding opponents to just 69.1 points per game which is the 91st best rate. The Bulldogs tend to lean on defense as their identity and have held opponents to the 7th-worst three-point percentage at 29.4% and the 52nd-worst overall field goal percentage at 41.6%.

They are led in scoring on the offensive end by 5-foot-10 guard Josh Hubbard who has spent time starting and coming off the bench this season. He has averaged 17.1 points per game and is responsible for nearly 32% of the team’s three-point attempts on a per-game basis by launching 8.6 shots per game from beyond the arc. Tolu Smith also provides the necessary secondary scoring at 15.2 points per game while also adding 8.4 rebounds. 

Michigan State plays with a similar identity as they have averaged just 73.1 points but hold opponents to the 27th-best rate at just 65.9 points per game. The Spartans also rank 57th in defensive rating. They turn the ball over at the 30th-best rate in the country and also rank 26th in assists per game. While they rank 325th in three-point attempts per game at just 17.8, they are connecting at the 74th-best rate in the country.

Michigan State is led in scoring by senior guard Tyson Walker. The former Northeastern transfer is in his third season with the program and has averaged an impressive 18.2 points per game this season. Malik Hall, A.J. Hoggard, and Jaden Akins provide additional scoring and each also averages over 10 points per game.

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Mississippi State vs Michigan State picks

Both teams have similar identities and play with a defensive-oriented mindset. Expect this to be a grind-it-out type of matchup as both teams rank in the bottom half in terms of tempo.

Mississippi State head coach Chris Jans deserves a ton of credit for having the program moving in the right direction and beginning to establish itself as a perennial tournament team. Unfortunately, this is a difficult matchup with Michigan State showing a little more top-end ability throughout the season.

Expect the experience of Tom Izzo to play a factor and for the Spartans to scrape their way to a victory. Neither team possesses the offensive firepower to make this a blowout and when push comes to shove, take the experience of Izzo to play a factor. While 130.5 is already an extremely low total, look for both teams to soak up the clock and attempt to control the pace of play.

Expect this to stay under the total with neither team set to be a lock to clear 60 points against these opposing defenses. It may not be the exciting shot-making clinic that novice basketball fans may desire, but this tough matchup will set the tone for exactly what March is all about. 

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Mississippi State vs Michigan State game info

  • Who: Mississippi State vs Michigan State
  • Date: Thursday, March 21st
  • Time: 12:15 EST
  • Venue: Spectrum Center (Charlotte, North Carolina)
  • Where to watch: CBS
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About the author

Sean Barnard

Sean Barnard has worked in sports media for the past five years. He has spent time as the 76ers Lead Writer for Philly Sports Network, Associate Editor at CluchPoints, Eagles Beat Reporter for YardBarker, and more. He also owns and operates his own Podcast Network called Pick Swap Media and is a radio host on Fox 102.5 The Gambler presented by iHeartMedia. Sean has written over 1500 articles and recorded over 500 podcasts and is just getting started. Based out of the Philadelphia region in the United States, Sean is a lifelong passionate sports fan who can be reached on Twitter at @Sean_Barnard1 where he rattles off basketball breakdowns and other news.

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