First Four Michigan State vs UCLA Prediction & Odds
- The Michigan State Spartans are fighting to compete in March Madness after losing in the National Semi-Final in 2019.
- The UCLA Bruins look for redemption, as they haven’t made March Madness since 2017.
- Michigan State and UCLA haven’t played each other often, but UCLA hold the all-time edge six to four.
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Michigan State vs UCLA Predictions and Picks
The Spartans have struggled this season against a stacked Big Ten. On the other hand, UCLA are a very pragmatic, if not spectacular team. Two of the nation’s most recognizable programs are set to put on a great match.
UCLA def. Michigan State ()
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How to Watch Michigan State vs UCLA
|Michigan State vs UCLA Information|
|What||Michigan State vs UCLA|
|Where||Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, IN|
|When||9:57 PM EST, March 18th, 2021|
|How to Watch||truTV|
Head-to-Head: Michigan State vs UCLA
|Tom Izzo||Head Coach||Mick Cronin|
|15-12 (9-11, 8th in Big Ten)||Standing||17-9 (13-6, 4th in Pac-12)|
|99.9 (217th of 347)||Off Rtg||108.1 (61st of 347)|
|102.1 (226th of 347)||Def Rtg||101.7 (211th of 347)|
Leaders (Per Game)
|A. Henry (15.3)||PPG||J. Juzang (14.0)|
|J. Hauser, A. Henry (5.7)||RPG||C. Smith (6.4)|
|A. Henry (3.5)||APG||T. Campbell (5.6)|
|A. Henry (1.3)||SPG||J. Jaquez (1.2)|
|M. Bingham, A. Henry (1.3)||BPG||J. Hill (1.0)|
|T. Kithier (.650)/A. Henry (5.8)||FG%/FGM||M. Etienne (.714)/J. Juzang (5.0)|
|G. Brown (.434)/G. Brown (1.4)||3P%/3PM||C. Smith (.500)/J. Juzang (1.9)|
Why Might the Michigan State Spartans Win?
The Michigan State Spartans have had a tough season. Not only have they had to manage the COVID-19 pandemic like every other school in the country, but they had to compete in one of the toughest conferences in the country.
The Spartans had one of the toughest mid-season runs, losing nine of 13 games from mid-December to mid-February. Their cold shooting through that run, 39% from the field and 30.9% from three, was only improved on slightly in their last eight games where they shot 43.2% from the field.
The Spartans have some good wins over Michigan and Illinois, actually boasting the best three-point defence in the conference. Their lack of consistency makes them difficult to predict, but they have performances as impressive as any.
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Why Might the UCLA Bruins Win?
The Bruins didn’t exactly end their season on a high. Not only did they lose seen of their last twelve games, the fell to the eventual winners Oregon State in the Pac-12 Tournament.
UCLA dropped important games to the best teams in their conference in USC, Colorado, and Oregon, but there’s really no issue there as the difference in ability was apparent. The Bruins don’t have the most admirable defence, but they’ll be banking on the Spartans’ propensity to turn the ball over.
Should the Bruins sort out their own issues on the offensive end and find easy baskets, a win is available to them. They’ll also need to handle a desperate Spartans defence that are excellent at negating opposing teams’ shooting.
Spartans Key Player: (F) Aaron Henry
— Michigan State Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) March 17, 2021
Junior forward Aaron Henry is the man to watch for the Spartans. He came alive in the middle of the season, but he lost consistency toward the tail end of the season.
Henry averages 15.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game for the Spartans on 44.7% from the field and 28.2% from three.
Henry’s shooting has been off all season, and it has gotten worse through his Michigan State career. If he can awaken his range again and become a serviceable threat from distance, considering he already attempts three threes per game, the Spartans have a real threat on their hands.
Bruins Key Player: (G) Johnny Juzang
.@JohnnyJuzang is on a personal 7-0 run here early 🙌
— UCLA Men’s Basketball (@UCLAMBB) March 11, 2021
The Bruins aren’t exactly flooded with scoring options but sophomore combo-guard Johnny Juzang transferred from Kentucky and made a massive impact for the Bruins.
Juzang contributes 14.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game on 46.8% shooting from the field and 34.5% shooting from three. He’s a liberal three-point shooter, attempting more than five threes per game.
The Spartans game plan is around stopping opponents at the three-point line, so Juzang will have to be a bit more witty in terms of his shot-selection. But if he can get his three-point shot going early, the Spartans’ defence and resistance could be steps away from collapse.
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
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