The No. 10 Davidson Wildcats are one of the most efficient offenses in college hoops, piling up almost 75 points per game en route to an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. The No. 7 Michigan State Spartans…are from the Big Ten.
That means the Wildcats’ waters could be muddied by MSU, which always tends to show up in March. March Madness odds expect a back-and-forth battle, with the Spartans sitting as slim favorites for this Round of 64 matchup Friday.
Here are our free March Madness picks and predictions for Davidson vs. Michigan State on March 18.
Davidson vs. Michigan State odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
Michigan State opened as big as -1.5 and has since dropped to a 1-point chalk for this game in South Carolina, which is just two hours away from campus for the Wildcats. The total hit the board at 140.5 and has jumped between that number and 141 points.
Davidson vs Michigan State predictions
Predictions made on 3/16/2022 at 7:00 am ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Davidson vs Michigan State game info
• Lease: Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, SC
• Date: Friday, March 18, 2022
• tip-off: 9:40 p.m. ET
• TV: CBS
Davidson vs Michigan State betting preview
Michigan State: Tyson Walker G (Questionable).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Over is 5-1 in Michigan State’s last six games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Davidson vs. Michigan State.
Davidson vs Michigan State picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
Big Ten teams have a tendency to infect games with an “ugly” aspect, transforming the most fluid offenses into disjointed playbooks.
The Wildcats’ offense is a thing of beauty, ranked No. 11 in adjusted offensive efficiency at KenPompresenting a problem for rival teams with an inside-out balance and plenty of depth.
Davidson has four players putting up 12 or more points per game, including former Spartan Foster Loyer, who leads the team with 16.8 points an outing. The 6-foot junior guard is lethal from long range, anchoring a Wildcats perimeter attack that knocks down an average of almost nine 3-pointers on 39.4% shooting from distance.
Overall, Michigan State has done well to defend against the 3-pointer and tightened up in the Big Ten tournament, allowing only 31% success to opponents beyond the arc. However, Davidson runs the bulk of its offense off screens and MSU has struggled to defend those playbooks, with bad communication on switches.
If the Wildcats get the space they need and start out hot, the Spartans just don’t have the firepower to fight their way back nor will they have the possessions. Davidson runs a plodding pace with the basketball, ranked 304th in tempo and eating handfuls of clock before attempting a shot.
Michigan State’s best offense is limited to the mid-range and post-up game, two areas that won’t pump out enough points to keep up with the Wildcats. The Spartans have only one player averaging double figures in points (Gabe Brown at 11.5 ppg), and could also be missing starting guard Tyson Walker (8.3 ppg), who injured his ankle in the Big Ten tournament.
Prediction: Davidson +1 (-110)
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The Spartans are by no means an up-tempo team (ranked seventh in the Big Ten), but Tom Izzo does like to test opponents in transition, and Michigan State did a good job attacking the rim during the conference tournament, shooting 54.2% on 2-point field goals in those three postseason games.
The Wildcats have found themselves on their heels against pace-pushing foes, giving up point totals of 69, 70, and 77 to the likes of UMass, George Washington, and VCU (three fastest tempos in the A-10). When Davidson misses from deep, those long rebounds can kick start the Spartans’ transition attack and beat the Wildcats down the floor.
The Spartans have been slow out of the blocks in recent games and average just 34 points per first half before Izzo makes adjustments and pumps that production up to 38.1 2H ppg in the final 20 minutes. Sparty was especially strong in the second half of the Big Ten tournament, posting scores of 45 and 50 in the second half of its last two games.
Davidson could be happy trading twos for threes in this game. The Wildcats don’t waste many possessions, owning an effective field goal rate of 55.6% (14th), coughing up the ball just 9.8 times per contest. While they play one of the slower tempos out there, three of their last four games heading into Friday have gone Over the total.
Prediction:Over 140.5 (-110)
Anyone who watched or wagered on the Big Ten tournament had to sit through Michigan State’s first-half Malay versus Wisconsin and Purdue, pumping out 1H point totals of 20 and 24. Those grueling opening frames were countered by quick turn arounds in tempo in the second half.
Books have MSU’s first-half team total for this Round of 64 game at 33.5 points, which is pretty much on the nose of the Spartans’ average production in the opening 20 minutes on the season.
However, both MSU and Davidson drag their opponents deep into the shot clock and the Green and White may not have enough possessions to get Over this 1H team total, even if their offense is playing well. Davidson limits foes to a mere 31.1 1H points on the season and has trimmed that to 24.3 over the past three games.
The Wildcats don’t allow for many “extra” scoring chances, taking care of the ball and keeping foes off the offensive glass (13th in defensive rebound rate), which puts pressure on a slow-starting Michigan State offense to be perfect in the halfcourt set.
pick: Michigan State First Half Team Total Under 33.5 (-110)