Michigan State vs. North Carolina Prediction, Odds and Key Players for NCAA Tournament Second Round

Mar 14, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA;North Carolina guard RJ Davis (4) shoots the ball over Florida
Mar 14, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA;North Carolina guard RJ Davis (4) shoots the ball over Florida / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 seed North Carolina advanced to the Round of 32 with a Thursday win against Wagner, setting up a matchup with No. 9 seed Michigan State, who blew past Mississippi State in the first round.

In a battle of elite guard play, who will prevail between RJ Davis of the Tar Heels and Tyson Walker of Michigan State? This point spread indicates a competitive matchup on Saturday afternoon with North Carolina only favored by a few points, but I have my eye on the total in this Round of 32 matchup.

Here's how I'm betting this Round of 32 matchup. If you want to tail or fade me I advise taking advantage of this new user bonus from FanDuel Sportsbook, who is giving new users $200 in bonus bets who win their first bet of just $5! Get started below.

Michigan State vs. North Carolina Odds, Spread and Total

North Carolina vs. Michigan State Betting Trends

  • Michigan State is 18-14-1 against the spread (ATS this season
  • North Carolina is 19-15 ATS this season
  • Michigan State has gone UNDER in 19 of 33 games this season
  • Michigan State has gone UNDER in five of eight games this season

Michigan State vs. North Carolina How to Watch

  • Date: Saturday, March 23rd
  • Game Time: 5:30 PM EST
  • Venue: Spectrum Center
  • How to Watch (TV): CBS
  • Michigan State Record: 20-14
  • North Carlina Record: 28-7

Michigan State vs. North Carolina Key Players to Watch

Michigan State

Tyson Walker: Walker will be the one to watch in this one for Michigan State, fresh off a 19 point effort against Mississippi State, hitting three three-point shots in the process. Walker is a deft point guard, who loves to find his spot in the mid-range but he's a career near 39% three-point shooter.

North Carolina

RJ Davis: It was another strong effort for Davis in the team's blowout win against Wagner, scoring 22 points while making four three's as the Tar Heels had four players in double figures. Davis, an All-American candidate, will look to keep the Tar Heels No. 1 seed standing by navigating a top 10 defense in KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency.

Michigan State vs. North Carolina Prediction and Pick

I like the under in this matchup between two teams that grade out as top 10 defenses according to KenPom.

Both teams are sound at protecting the rock, but it's Michigan State's methodical tempo that will be able to slow down North Carolina's transition attack. The Tar Heels don't pressure the ball very much, but the teams defense is very disciplined, funneling teams into contested two's and rebound opponent misses at a top 10 rate in the country.

Michigan State prefers to shoot two's but against the length of the Tar Heels defense, I believe it will be tough sledding in side, especially in an admittedly friendly enviornment of Charlotte, North Carolina.

On the other side, Michigan Sate will let the Tar Heels shoot from the perimeter, something that the team is comfortable with, but not its proficient method of attack. The team is outside the top 100 in effective field goal percentage, more reliant on using its brute force to get to the rim and to the free throw line.

However, Sparty is a stout defense at the rim. The team is 44th in field goal percentage allowed at the rim and forces teams to shoot away from the cup, 28th in average shot distance.

I thkn this game is more of a defensive struggle and played in the halfcourt, I'll take the under on Saturday.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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