Michigan State vs. USC: 2023 NCAA Tournament Odds, Preview & Predictions

Mar 13, 2023 - 12:11 AM

March Madness is officially here! The 2023 NCAA Tournament Bracket has been announced, and the teams are lining up for the Big Dance. Let’s take a look at the early odds, preview, and predictions for the 2023 NCAA Tournament Round 1 game: Michigan State vs. USC.

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2023 NCAA Tournament Guide (March Madness)

2023 March Madness Odds, Preview & Predictions: Michigan State vs. USC

Michigan State vs. USC Odds, Spread & Match Up Overview

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Michigan State 2023 NCAA Tournament Betting Preview

A quietly successful Sparty squad led by the dynamic backcourt of AJ Hoggard and Tyson Walker finds itself in yet another NCAA Tournament. Michigan State’s sixth overall strength of schedule has led to double-digit losses but sets the Spartans up well for the tournament after facing some of the best offenses in college basketball this year. Tom Izzo is one of the most experienced tournament coaches of all time and has lost in the first round only twice in his last 10 tourney appearances. Izzo’s Spartans made the Final Four as a 2-seed in 2019 and as a 7-seed in 2015.

A lot of Michigan State’s losses this season could have gone either way, with a one-point defeat to Gonzaga on an aircraft carrier, an overtime loss to Iowa in one of the craziest games of the season, and another one-point loss to Purdue, one of the best teams in the nation. What the Spartans lack in athleticism they make up for in the sets they run, finding open looks with one of the highest assist rates in the nation. Joey Hauser and Jaden Akins are among the best sharpshooters in the nations, both shooting better than 40 percent from deep.

Michigan State is simply a team that you can never count out. The Spartans rank in the top 40 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Their long-range shooting gives them a sneaky ceiling if they face teams that allow a lot of open looks from deep. I trust the Spartans late in games with Izzo at the helm and their solid free throw shooting, and their defense is good enough to not be the reason for an early-round collapse. Trust your gut when filling out the bracket, but a first-round win for Michigan State seems likely based on recent history.

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USC 2023 NCAA Tournament Betting Preview

As the little brother of the Pac-12, USC has stayed out of the limelight. But the Trojans’ all-around play — they have a top-50 offense and defense to go with a lot of height — means they are capable of keeping up with nearly any team they face.

Boogie Ellis has been a do-it-all player for USC, ranking among the D1 leaders in assist rate, steal percentage, free throw rate and three-point shooting. The Trojans’ size has helped give them a top-10 interior defense, limiting opponents to sub-44 percent shooting from inside the arc. While they limit those shots, the Trojans aren’t great at limiting rebounds, and their perimeter defense could be better. Offensively, USC is generally good but doesn’t shine in any particular area. The Trojans have a preference for interior looks but have a couple of shooters in Ellis and Kobe Johnson.

Whenever I watch this team, it seems as if the Trojans are playing with lead in their shoes. In order for USC to succeed, it must use its size to its advantage and play some physical basketball while maintaining an uptempo pace. Wins over UCLA and Auburn show the ceiling for USC, but the floor is an early exit.

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