East Region Free Picks - Can The Spartans Exterminate Those Rowdy Gophers?

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Lindsay Van Gyn

March 23rd, 2019

Those pesky rodents are coming in HOT for the Spartans and an offensive showdown will be the deciding factor for LSU over the Terps.  

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#10 Minnesota Gophers +10.5 over #2 Michigan State Spartans  

The Gophers are sort of living up to their namesake: pesky little buggers that won’t go away and pop out of nowhere to scare the heck out of you. They didn’t have a mentionable season until their Big 10 tournament appearance and now they’re about to face Michigan State.  

They led Louisville the whole way through, shooting 11-of-15 from beyond the arc and 50% overall. They had only 4 turnovers and stars Coffee and Murphy added 18 points each.

Michigan won their 1st round over Bradley but are in the news for head-coach Tom Izzo’s weird meltdown mid-huddle (not cute). Their numbers were not up to par and shot 32% from beyond-the-arc and only 27.9% overall (double not cute).

The Gophers are 2-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral games and 7-17 ATS in their last 24 games following an ATS win. The Spartans are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following an ATS loos and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs Big Ten opponents.

I know the obvious pick is Michigan but they are injured, rattled by their coach’s unhinged temper-tantrum and aren’t playing that well. The Gophers going to be pesky and are going to do more than scare the heck out of Michigan - they’re going to win.

#3 LSU Tigers -2.5 over #6 Maryland Terrapins

Neither of these teams ran away with it in their first round. The Terps took a walk with Belmont and won by 2 and the Tigers were able to manage a 4 point win over Yale.

Muscling through their game, the Terps were able to defensively shut down Belmont holding them to just 41.5% of all their shots and 32.1% from beyond the arc. Maryland is #206 in the nation for scoring and 120th for shooting so they will need to step it up (way up).

LSU is going to test the resilience of the Terp defense with their attack style offense led by Smith who took 19 points and Morsell, 18 in their game against Yale.

The Tigers struggled in the 2nd half but were able to shut the Bulldogs down, holding them to 21.6% shooting from long range. LSU shot 45.9% from the field. They enter the second round ranked 23rd in the nation for scoring at 81.3 PPG.

Maryland is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall, 1-4 in their last 5 neutral site games and 1-7 ATS in their last 8 NCAA Tournament games. LSU are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs Big 10 teams, 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600, 8-2 ATS in their last 10 Saturday games, and 4-1 in their last 5 games following a straight up win. Ok, then…

Guys, are we all on the same page here? LSU will win this and live to see the Sweet Sixteen.

Lindsay Van Gyn has a masters degree in sports communications focusing on the NFL. She is a passionate writer who focuses on the cultural intersection of sports, statistics and fans.