Line: Michigan State -14

The University of Delaware had a strong season getting 25 wins and deserved a seed better than the 13 seed that they received. They are in an unfortunate position of being matched up with Michigan State. The Spartans are a 4 seed based on their overall record. Their record does not take into account the devastating amount of injuries they suffered throughout the year, nor does it take into account the fact that all of their players are healthy now and rounding into shape just in time for the big dance. All of the ESPN panelists picked them to not only advance to the final four but to actually win the national championship. Delaware has its work cut out for them in this unfair matchup.

Michigan State, as always is a reflection of their hard-nosed Coach Tom Izzo. They have won their last three games vs. Northwestern, number 12 ranked Wisconsin, and number 8 ranked Michigan. All of these wins were in impressive and dominant fashion. Throughout all of the injuries the team has managed to stay on course largely based on the all around brilliance of Gary Harris who averages over 17 points per game to go along with 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Bruising forward Adriaen Payne averages just under 16 points per game and over 7 rebounds. These numbers would be stronger if he wasn’t injured throughout the course of the season. He is a dominant low post presence and there are not a lot of them in this tournament. The Spartans focus on getting the ball inside and playing inside/out, which takes advantage of Payne’s ability. Guard Keith Appling is a true floor leader who averages 12 points and nearly 5 assists per game. He is a poor percentage shooter from the 3-point line but has a knack for making them in clutch situations. Brandon Dawson contributes over 10 points per game and is the teams leading rebounder at over 8 a game.
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It has often been said that guards win games in the NCAA tournament and no team in the country gets more production out of its 3 guards than Delaware. They have 3 seniors who are all explosive and combine for the vast majority of the team’s offense. Devon saddler averages just south of 20 points per game to go along with 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Davon Usher averages 19.7 points per game as well as 6 rebounds. He is a big kid who is strong from the perimeter and can play with his back to the basket. He would be a starter at any school in the country. Javis Threatt is probably the best all around threat averaging 18.1 points per game to go with 5.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists. They have won 5 straight games and are hoping to carry that momentum into this tough matchup.

Pick: Delaware +14

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