NCAA Tournament First Four: (11) Michigan State Spartans (15-12) vs (11) UCLA Bruins (17-9) prediction and college basketball game preview.
Michigan State vs UCLA Broadcast
Date: Thursday, March 18
Game Time: 9:57 pm ET
Venue: Mackey Arena,West Lafayette, IN
Michigan State vs UCLA Game Preview
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Why Michigan State Will Win
It took a while to get there, but the Spartans figured it out.
They struggled in the middle of the season when the shooting was erratic, the defense wasn’t anything special, and there was loss after loss after loss when the team just couldn’t seem to catch a break.
And then came the finishing kick.
There was a clunker against Maryland, but there was also a win over Michigan. And Illinois. And Ohio State. Okay, there was another loss to Maryland in the Big Ten Tournament, but the D got a little tighter over the last month and – to be murky about it – there seemed to be a little more fight.
The defense was among the best in the Big Ten against the three, the rebounding was solid, and there was more of an inside presence with more blocked shots.
On the flip side, UCLA closed with a thud, losing its final four games and seven of its last 12. However …
Why UCLA Will Win
The first round loss to Oregon State in the Pac-12 Tournament doesn’t seem quite so bad now – the Beavers won the thing.
The other three losses were to USC by one and on the road at Colorado and Oregon. A good team should’ve won one of those, but there’s no shame in dropping those four.
Even though the team have problems late, the shooting wasn’t bad. It managed to hit half of its shots over the last seven games, it wasn’t bad from three, and it did a decent job on the boards.
This might not be the most aggressive D, but Michigan State is a giveaway machine – the Bruins should generate enough easy points to matter.
What’s Going To Happen
Michigan State might have had a rough year, but that’s partially because the Big Ten was really, really good.
However, this is a badly flawed team. It might have been able to rise up and beat a few superstars over the last few weeks, but it’s painfully inconsistent from the outside, it doesn’t force takeaways, and it already has eight fouls just getting off the bus.
There’s nothing sexy about this UCLA team, but it shoots well from the field and it can hang enough on the boards to not have a problem against the tough Spartans.
Michigan State vs UCLA Prediction, Line
UCLA 69, Michigan State 65
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Line: Michigan State -2, o/u: 135
ATS Confidence out of 5: 1.5
Must See Rating: 3
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