Davidson Vs. Michigan Odds, Picks, and Predictions (3/18/22)

In the Atlantic 10 in 2021-22, the Davidson Wildcats finished the regular season with a 15-3 conference record, 27-6 overall.  The Wildcats who were the number one seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament lost on Sunday, 64-62 to the Richmond Spiders in the conference tournament championship game.  In the loss Sam Mennenga scored 18 points and Michael Jones finished with 17 points for Davidson; Jones did have a chance to win the game, but his contested three-point attempt didn’t hit the room as time expired.  Atlantic 10 player of the year, Luka Brajkovoic had 13 points and 11 rebounds in the loss to Richmond.  The Michigan State Spartans finished Big Ten conference play at 11-9: 22-12 overall.  In their last time on the court, they lost to the Purdue Boilermakers 75-70 in the Semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament.  In their third game in three days, Michigan State shot seven of 25 from behind the arc.  Injuries were a theme of the loss to Purdue, Tyson Walker, the clubs starting point guard and second on the team in assists per game with 4.3, left in the first half with what has initially been diagnosed as a sprained ankle and did not return.  His replacement A.J. Hoggard, turned his ankle on the following possession but did not return to the contest.  The sophomore finished with 17 points and 10 assists in the five-point defeat to the Boilermakers.  Before their two victories in the conference tournament, the Spartans had lost five of their last seven regular season games. 

Davidson Wildcats Vs. Michigan State Spartans Betting Odds

The Michigan State Spartans are listed as a 1.5-point favorite over the Davidson Wildcats in this West Regional contest.  Davidson is 4-0 against the spread in their last four Friday games.  Over is 5-1 in the Wildcats last six games as an underdog.  Davidson is 5-1 against the spread in their last six neutral site games.  Under is 4-1 in the Wildcats last five NCAA Tournament games as an underdog.  Michigan State is 4-0 against the spread in their last four games overall.  The Spartans are 4-0 against the spread in their last four neutral site games.  Under is 4-1 in Michigan State’s last five Friday games.  Under is 4-1 in the Spartans last five NCAA Tournament games. 

Davidson Wildcats Odds

Davidson is appearing in their 15th NCAA tournament, with a record of 8-15 in their previous 14 tournament appearances.  Their best finish came in the 2008 NCAA tournament when all-time great Steph Curry led Davidson to the Elite 8, falling to eventual National Champion, Kansas 59-57 in the Midwest Regional Final.
Davidson was picked to finish sixth in the Atlantic 10 instead they finished the season at the top of the conference.  Led by legendary head coach Bob McKillop, they shot 55% from inside the 3-point line in conference play and finished nationally in the top 10 with a 38.6% mark from beyond the three-point line during the regular season.

Michigan State transfer guard, Foster Loyer led Davidson in scoring this season averaging 16.3 points per game.  He also led the team in assists per game at 3.3 and grabbed 3.1 rebounds per contest.  Guard Hyunjung Lee is averaging 16 points per game while grabbing six rebounds per game this campaign.  He’s a dynamic player at six foot seven, shooting 47.7% from the floor and 37.9% from three-point land.  Luka Brajkovic who was named Atlantic 10 player of the year is averaging 14.2 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game, 2.5 assists per game while shooting 57.6 from the floor in 2021-22.  Guard Michael Jones is averaging 11.9 points per game while playing 31 minutes per game.  Forward Sam Mennenga is a solid all-around player averaging 8.2 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game and shooting 52% from the field this year.  Many feel this is coach McKillop’s best squad since Davidson’s magical run behind Steph Curry in 2008, the Spartans need to be careful because the Wildcats can pull off the upset.

Michigan State Spartans Odds

Entering the 2022 NCAA Tournament, Michigan State is listed at +20000 to win the National Championship, the Spartans are the last Big Ten school to win the National Championship.  Michigan State really struggled in their last 15 Big Ten games, going 6-9 following an impressive 5-0 start in Big Ten play.  Their notable wins in 2021-22 have come over Loyola Chicago, UConn, Wisconsin, and Purdue (all in the field of 68 in the NCAA tournament), helping to secure Michigan State’s 23rd consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.

Senior forward, Gabe Brown leads the Spartans in scoring this season at 11.4 points per game.  Brown is averaging 3.9 rebounds per game while playing 26.8 minutes per game.  Freshman guard Max Christie is averaging 9.5 points per game and 3.5 rebounds per game.  Christie is a solid pro prospect and capable of carrying the club for long stretches at a time.  Forward Marcus Bingham Jr. leads the Spartans in rebounds per game at 6.1 and averaging 9.2 points per contest.  A.J. Hoggard has the number one assist rate in the nation, getting an assist 46.9% of the time he’s on the court, per ESPN.com.  He led the team in assists this season with 4.9 per game.  The sophomore guard is averaging 6.8 point per game and 2.2 rebounds per game this season.

Compared to other clubs Tom Izzo has had at Michigan State this is an average to good team without a truly identifiable star.  On his best teams, Tom Izzo always had a player he could turn to whenever his team faced a tough moment in a critical game, including Mateen Cleaves, Draymond Green, Denzel Valentine, and Cassius Winston.  But, on the other hand the legendary Michigan State coach could get this team all the way to the Sweet 16 and nobody would bat an eye.  As someone who worked closely with the team for over 10 years, the Spartans are always a dangerous squad.

Davidson Wildcats Vs. Michigan State Spartans Picks & Prediction

Davidson is averaging 75.6 points per game; 65th in the country and 14.7 assists per game; 78th in the nation.  Defensively the Wildcats are allowing 65.8 points per game.  Davidson’s last appearance in the tournament was 2008 when they lost to Kentucky 78-73 in the first round.  Michigan State is averaging 72.1 points per game; 160th in the nation and 15.8 assists per game; 37th in the country.  On the defensive end the Spartans are allowing 68.4 points per game.  Michigan State was one and done last year as they lost 86-80 in overtime to UCLA in the First Four.  I expect this to be a close game, but with Tom Izzo leading the Spartans, they’ll win this tight contest by at least 1.5 points with the teams combining for under 141.5 points.

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Scott is graduate of Hofstra University and has worked in the sports media for over 20 years as a Producer and Writer. His dream is to see the New York Jets one day hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy. He lives outside of Chicago with his wife and two children.

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