The NCAA Tournament is full of upsets, but this year has been quite tame. Although there have been some Big Ten upsets thus far (Wisconsin over Villanova), Michigan State basketball has been given little to no chance to beat No. 1 seed Kansas on Sunday.
Michigan State seems to play the role of underdog well, at least under Tom Izzo, and there’s never a loss for hope as long as he’s at the helm. Can the Spartans pull off the upset of the tournament thus far by beating the Jayhawks? Some of our writers think so.
Take a look at the staff score predictions for the big game.
Connor Muldowney: Everyone needs to tune in strictly because the matchup between longtime friends Josh Jackson and Miles Bridges will be epic. The two will have one of the best back-and-forth battles in recent memory, dating back to the Maui Invitational showdown between Maurice Ager and Adam Morrison. Nick Ward will also have a big game in the post, but it will be all for naught. Kansas’ backcourt of Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham is just too strong and Cassius Winston will struggle defensively. Close game until the final five minutes.
Final: Michigan State 66, Kansas 75
Ryan McCumber: Michigan State takes on its biggest challenge so far this year. Lucky for the them, they are coming off one of their best performances of the year. The keys for MSU will be slowing down Josh Jackson and Frank Mason III. Kansas does not have the size they normally have, which helps the Spartans, who play a small lineup due to injuries. If Cassius Winston plays like he did on Friday night, MSU has a legitimate shot to win this game. The problem is that Mason III is likely the national player of the year and will be his toughest matchup of the season. The Jayhawks will end the Spartans’ season, but it will be closer than most people expect.
Final: Michigan State 71, Kansas 75
Michael Briggs: Michigan State played its best stretch of basketball against Miami after overcoming early jitters. MSU kept turnovers to a minimum, hit the glass hard and made open shots. It was the kind of performance fans have known this team was capable of, but have been waiting to see all season.
For the Spartans to pull off the 9-1 upset, they will need Nick Ward and Miles Bridges to dominate from start to finish — ideally by getting the ball in the post and forcing a thin Kansas frontcourt unit into foul trouble. MSU’s point guard duo of Tum Tum Nairn and Cassius Winston will also need to hold their own against KU’s fantastic guards Frank Mason III and Devonte Graham. An upset win is in the cards, but it certainly won’t come easily.
That said, Michigan State showed me enough vs. the Hurricanes to suggest that even if they can’t win, they won’t be blown out. Either way, Spartans fans will be able to hold their heads high Sunday night.
Final: Michigan State 71, Kansas 80
Adam Zdroik: Frank Mason III, Devonte’ Graham and Josh Jackson will combine for 60 points, but Miles Bridges and Nick Ward will combine for 50 with more help from the players around them. That means Josh Langford and Alvin Ellis III will remove Svi Mykhailiuk from the game completely on both ends of the court.
Final: Michigan State 78, Kansas 75
Stephen Robb: This is the game Tom Izzo wanted and there is no reason why the Spartans can’t rise to the occasion. They dominated a good Miami team. This is a very good Kansas team, however, it has been known to lose in the early rounds under head coach Bill Self. I believe MSU has an excellent opportunity to snatch a win.
Final: Michigan State 83, Kansas 78
Russell Brown: The toughest test of the season happens today for the Spartans. While it played teams like Arizona, Duke, Kentucky and Baylor to start the year, Michigan State puts its season on the line against Kansas. It’s the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner advances to the Sweet Sixteen and the loser goes home. That loser will be the Kansas Jayhawks. Tom Izzo has won four out of his last five against Bill Self and the Jayhawks. Nick Ward and Miles Bridges led the way in the first round against the Hurricanes and they’ll lead the way again tonight. The Spartans have a frontcourt advantage and I expect a strong prescense from their front court to open up shots for the Spartans back-court. A sluggish start won’t happen tonight. There will be a lot of back and forth action on both ends but the team with the last shot will win and that team will be the Spartans.
Final: Michigan State 77, Kansas 75
Brooks Hepp: There’s something to be made about Izzo’s comments about wanting to play Kansas this year. He clearly believes his team stacks up well with the Jayhawks. I think Josh Jackson and Miles Bridges will be a wash, and it will come down to whether Frank Mason III can exploit Michigan State’s young guards. In the end, I think this will go down as one of the best games in the tournament and Kansas squeaks out a tight victory.
Final: Michigan State 74, Kansas 75Related Story: >MSU Basketball: 5 bold predictions for NCAA Tournament
Joe Clifford: Michigan State will look to advance to the Sweet 16 with a win over Kansas. The marquee matchup will be Miles Bridges vs. Josh Jackson, but big games from Josh Langford and Nick Ward will give Michigan State a late lead. Clutch free throws from Cassius Winston will lead the Spartans to a four-point victory and a rematch with Purdue.
Final: Michigan State 75, Kansas 71
Source : http://spartanavenue.com/2017/03/19/michigan-state-basketball-score-predictions-kansas/