No. 1 seed Michigan State opens play Friday as they take on 16 seed Long Island of Brooklyn Blackbirds in a first-round game in the West Regional in Columbus, Ohio. Game time is 9:20 PM ET at Nationwide Arena.

NCAA Basketball odds boards currently show that Michigan State is favored by -20 points with the total at 154.5. However, a total of 155.5 is starting to show up at some college basketball betting shops.

Lets preview this matchup and decide where us bettors should lay our NCAA Basketball picks.


LIU Brooklyn vs. Michigan StateUnder the guidance of Tim Izzo, MSU is making its 15th consecutive NCAA Tournament. The Spartans have been to eight Final Fours and earned a national championship in 2000. Surprisingly this is Michigan State’s first No.1 seed since 2001.

LIU Brooklyn made the tournament after claiming the Northeast Conference title in the regular season and crushing Robert Morris 90-73 in the tournament final.

This will be the first meeting between the two teams since the 1941 NCAA tournament.

LIU Brooklyn (25-8 SU, 3-0 ATS)

The Blackbirds rank third in the nation in scoring at 81.9 points but allowed 77.3 points per game and ranked among the most mistake prone teams in the country with 16.3 turnovers per game.

The Blackbirds top performer is Northeast player of the year Julian Boyd who averaged 17.4 points per game while pulling down 9.5 rebounds per contest. Jamal Olasewere (16.8, 7.5) was second on the team in scoring while Jason Brickman and Michael Culp were deadly from downtown with Brickman shooting 40.5 percent from beyond the arc and Culpo draining 38.5 percent of his long distance attempts.

Michigan State (27-7 SU, 21-10 ATS)

The Spartans have been extremely tough defensively which will come in handy against the run and gun Blackbirds.

MSU’s defense is second in the country field-goal percentage (37.8) and 16th in scoring defense (59.1). Offensively,   Draymond Green earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors, as was among the Top 5 in the conference in every major statistical category. Green averaged 16.1 points per game and pulled down 10.4 rebounds per game. He also led the team in assists and steals. Point guard Keith Appling (11.5 points, 3.9 assists) is the only other Michigan State player scoring in double figures.

The odds are…

That Michigan State will win the West. The books have the Spartans at 9/5 followed by Missouri (11/5), Marquette (5/1) and Louisville (5/1). The two 16 seeds—Norfolk State and LIU Brooklyn—are listed at 200/1.

Tom Izzo has had a No. 1 seed in East Lansing three times in his career — 1999, 2000 and 2001. This is the first time in 11 years that Izzo had has a No. 1 seed. There’s a reason that everyone talks about him as the best tournament coach in the country. What I like about the Spartans this season is that they are the perfect team for the style he likes to play. They defend, they rebound and they are led by the player with the bluest collar in the country in Draymond Green. Losing Branden Dawson hurts, but they still won the Big Ten Tournament without him.

Trends

Michigan State is 4-0 ATS in their last four neutral site games and is on a blistering 20-8 run vs. the number in their last 28 overall. LIU is also 4-0 ATS in its last four neutral court games.

The teams had one common opponent this year. Ohio State beat Penn State 77-57 while LIU lost to the Nittany Lions in November 77-68.

Harvey’s Take: Tom Izzo needs to make sure his team doesn’t get caught looking ahead to the second round. LIU Brooklyn presents a challenge and I believe they’ll keep it within the 20-point spread. There should be plenty of scoring in this one as well but not enough to top the total. My play is on Long Island and the ‘under’.

Good luck!