NCAA March Madness: Michigan State vs. USC betting preview, odds and predictions
In the 7 vs. 10 matchup in the East region of the 2023 NCAA tournament, Michigan State faces USC with a spot in the Round of 32 on the line. All tournament long, VSiN will be providing you with March Madness betting odds, in-depth team analysis and expert college basketball picks. Make us your one-stop shop for all of your betting needs.
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How to watch Michigan State vs. USC
When: Friday, 12:15 p.m. ET
Where: Columbus, Ohio
Odds for Michigan State vs. USC
Spread: Michigan State -1.5
(Odds accurate as of Sunday, March 12th at 11:00 p.m. ET)
Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook
East Region No. 7 Seed Michigan State
To say this has been an up-and-down season for Tom Izzo’s group would be an understatement. However, this is a rock-solid basketball team that can get the job done on both ends of the floor. The Spartans are one of the most balanced teams in the country, and they’re a team that nobody will want to face in the Big Dance. Not only can this group defend when it wants to, but Michigan State has quite a few ways it can beat you offensively. Tyson Walker and A.J. Hoggard are two guards that can take turns dicing up opponents, and Joey Hauser is as good of a power forward as there is in the country. Hauser can beat teams from inside and out, and that is part of what makes this a tough team to guard.
East Region No. 10 Seed USC
USC plays both ends of the floor well, but this team is especially tough to score on inside the three-point line. If opponents aren’t hitting outside shots against Andy Enfield’s group, the Trojans are likely going to win that game. On the flip side of that, this team doesn’t shoot the three-ball all that well. Perhaps the Trojans will catch fire and find a way to knock some more down in tournament play, but they’ll mostly be relying on winning ugly games. Drew Peterson is the player to keep an eye on for USC. The 6-foot-9 forward is a tremendous offensive player and has great size on the wing. If the Trojans do damage against anyone, it’ll be because of his all-around game.
Michigan State vs. USC matchup analysis
The first Friday of the NCAA Tournament begins with this matchup, which seems only fitting given that USC and Michigan State will start playing annually for the 2024-25 college basketball season when the Trojans join the Big Ten. Both teams bowed out early in their respective conference tournaments, so we’ll have a couple of rested squads when this one tips off.
The Spartans played eight Quad I-A games and lost all eight of them per Bart Torvik. Otherwise, they were 19-4 and USC is not going to qualify as a Quad I-A game with the neutral setting in Columbus. In a lot of ways, these were two underwhelming teams and it had a lot to do with shot selection. Neither Michigan State (29%) nor USC (31%) got to the rim at a high rate and both teams settled for a lot of mid-range jumpers. Michigan State actually ranks 279th in 2P% coming into the NCAA Tournament, while USC is 136th.
The Spartans were saved by the 3, yet they didn’t take a lot of them. They are 298th in 3P Rate, but third in 3P% at 39.5%. Shooting a lot of jumpers means that Michigan State doesn’t get to the free throw line much, which could present an advantage for USC. The Trojans are also second in 2P% defense, holding opponents to just 42.4% on shots inside the arc.
One concern for the Trojans here is that big man Drew Peterson has been battling a barking back of late. He only has 23 points over his last three games, despite averaging 14 points per game for the season. Star scorer Boogie Ellis needs his supporting cast to step up and Peterson is a big part of that equation.
A final note to keep in mind is that Michigan State has won at least one game in each of the last four NCAA Tournament fields they have made and 12 of the last 14. They were upset in the 2/15 game in 2016 to Middle Tennessee and lost as a No. 10 seed in 2011 to UCLA.
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