USC Among Last of the At-Large Teams
This is not exactly a showdown of teams peaking for a March Madness run.
Michigan State fell to Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament while Southern California lost to Arizona State in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 quarterfinals. The teams were a combined 8-15 in Quad 1 games this season.
USC is 5-4 over its last nine games with a loss against 11th-place Oregon State. Michigan State had a strong finish to the season, going 5-2 in the final seven games in the regular season with the highlight being a win over Indiana.
The teams have almost identical numbers in the Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings. Michigan State is 41st in adjusted offensive efficiency and 40th defensively. USC checks in at 43rd on offense and 48th on defense.
When it comes to the college basketball news, Keep an eye on 7-foot-1 freshman Vincent Iwuchukwu. USC is 10-4 when he suits up. However, he is questionable due to a back issue. He has missed the Trojans’ last two games. Drew Peterson, USC’s second-leading scorer, is probable.
Sophomore guard Jaden Akins and senior forward Malik Hall combined to miss 15 games during the regular season. However, both players are back for the Spartans.
According to the odds to win March Madness, Michigan State (+12500) is tied for 31st in the odds to win the national championship. USC (+20000) is tied for 34th.
USC Looks To Boogie
Suggesting that the Trojans were on the March Madness bubble after falling to Arizona State in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament would be quite the understatement.
USC did post some wins over ranked teams and that included one against UCLA, the body of work had the Trojans as one of the last at-large teams to make the field. USC has its men’s and women’s team in the NCAA tournament in the same season for the first time since 1997.
For the first time since 1997, both @USC_Hoops and @USCWBB have made the NCAA Tournament in the same season! ✌️#FightOn | #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/PbxGMpHwGf
— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) March 13, 2023
USC has a couple of four-game winning streaks in conference play. A win over UCLA and a near upset of the Bruins in the other meeting helped the Trojans secure the program’s fifth NCAA tournament appearance since 2016.
The most noteworthy non-conference win might be against America East champion Vermont and that is not a ringing endorsement.
The good news is guard play is crucial at this time of the year and USC has a good one in Boogie Ellis. Ellis averaged 22.7 points against ranked teams during the regular season and in USC’s last two games against ranked foes, he had 35 points against Arizona and 31 versus UCLA.
Ellis can’t do it alone. The only other double-digit scorer is Drew Peterson and 7 of 31 from the field over the last three games. Sophomore Reese Dixon-Waters is back after missing some time last month.
The Las Vegas odds total has gone over in five of USC’s last seven games.
Back in March Madness
There was a time when it looked like Michigan State was in danger of missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1997 (not counting 2020 when there was no tournament held).
The Spartans were sitting at 5-3 after a blowout loss to a Notre Dame team that would finish near the bottom of the ACC standings.
Joey Hauser had 20 points and fellow senior Tyson Walker added 17 as Michigan State shook off back-to-back losses with a key win against Maryland. That got things turned around as Michigan State had a strong finish to the regular season.
Walker has started 59 of 67 games in his two seasons after transferring in from Northeastern while Hauser has started 67 times over the last three seasons.
With three seniors and two juniors among the top six scorers, there is plenty of experience and that matters at this time of the year.
There were questions about how Michigan State would respond when the Spartans returned to the court after an on-campus shooting that claimed the lives of three students. They have played well enough to be favored according to the college basketball picks.
Michigan State began the season falling by a point to Gonzaga and beating Kentucky in overtime.
The Spartans have covered against the college basketball lines in just four of its last 12 games.
Michigan State vs USC Game Injuries
Michigan State vs USC Head-to-Head
The teams haven’t met since the 2009 NCAA tournament when Michigan State, listed as a 4-point favorite, won 74-69. The game headed over the 129½-point total.
Michigan State topped Oregon 74-70 in the Phil Knight Invitational in the only matchup against a Pac-12 team this season. In USC’s only game against a team from the Big Ten, the Trojans lost to Wisconsin 64-59.
Michigan State vs USC State Game Information
- Game: Southern California (22-10, 14-6 Pac-12) vs Michigan State (19-12, 11-8 Big Ten)
- Location: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
- Day/Time: Friday, March 17, 12:15 p.m. ET
- Southern California vs Michigan State Live Stream: TBS.com
Michigan State vs USC Betting Lines
Michigan State vs USC Picks and Prediction
Veteran guards tend to thrive at this time of the year and both teams have good ones.
USC is 6-5 in games decided by six points or less with Michigan State going 7-4 in those contests so both of these teams have experience in tight affairs.
Veteran coach Tom Izzo is 53-23 in NCAA tournament play for a reason so it is hard to count his teams out. Andy Enfield has a 5-4 March Madness record since arriving at USC.
The Spartans are 16-3 when listed by the sportsbook as the favorite. USC is 5-7 as the underdog.
Southern California is listed at +110 in our Las Vegas college basketball lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Trojans, you have a chance to win $110. Michigan State is -130, offering a chance to win $77 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Southern California a 47.62% chance to win, with Michigan State at 56.52%.