Early in the year the Michigan State Spartans were on the short list of contenders with a legitimate shot at winning this yearís NCAA Tournament. Multiple
injures to Michigan Stateís best players, however, kept the team from reaching its full potential during the regular season and pushed it from the top of
the AP Top 25 poll to the bottom by the yearís end.
The oddsmakers continue to keep the Spartans near the top of the national title futures odds, mostly because the team may be the best in the nation when
healthy, and they do not want to get caught giving away value if the squad can regain its footing before the NCAA Tournament. Michigan State is expected to
have most of its injured players back in the lineup and semi-healthy soon; the only question is whether or not it can regain that magical chemistry from
early in the year. Letís take a closer look at the teamís 2014 NCAA title odds with picks, predictions and analysis.
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Michigan State 2014 NCAA Tournament Story Lines
The Spartans lost seven of their last 12 games to end the season, but they were able to get two wins over the Top 25-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes in that span.
Prior to losing multiple players to injury, the team started the year 18-1 and spent some time as the No. 1 squad in the nation. Michigan State ended the
year with a 23-8 overall and 12-6 conference record and was third in the Big Ten standings.
In mid January the Spartans lost Adreian Payne to a foot injury, Branden Dawson with a broken hand, while point guard Keith Appling had his minutes limited
due to a wrist injury that is still a lingering issue. Coach Tom Izzo has stated that there were days when he had four of his five starters sitting out
from practices because of injury.
Payne, Dawson and Appling are three of Michigan Stateís top four scorers, and they provided an average of 37 points per nightónearly half of the teamís
76.2-point average. The three players also produced 19 rebounds and eight assists as well and helped Michigan State play one of the most talented starting
lineups in the nation. The next big step for team
will be its performance in the Big Ten Conference Tournament
. If Michigan State can play well before the NCAA Tournament begins, it might be sign that the team is ready to make another deep run.
Michigan State 2014 NCAA Tournament Odds and Key Trends
Michigan State is currently receiving the fourth-best national title odds at +1000, according to Sportsbook.ag. The squad may be only ranked 22nd in the AP Top 25, but the
oddsmakers believe it has the talent to make a deep tournament run. Michigan State ended the regular season with a 17-11-2 ATS record and 16-14 totals
mark. The Spartans are 6-4 ATS over their last 10 overall matchups and 2-2 over their last four double-digits spreads as a favorite.
Michigan State averaged 76.2 points per game this season and was ranked 56th in the nation in that category. The squad was also sixth in assists with 17.2
per game, and was 69th in rebounds with 37.1 per game.
Michigan State Odds to Win the 2014 NCAA Tournament Picks and Predictions
Michigan State is slowly putting its deadly roster together from earlier in the year when it was considered one of the best teams in the nation. Coach Izzo
will have the Spartans disciplined on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. The question now is whether or not the talent will be there. The
squad has made two consecutive Sweet 16 appearances and may be able to make another deep run on muscle memory alone.
Michigan State receiving +1000 odds may be a great value bet for a group that probably would be the national title favorite at +450 if fully healthily. The
NCAA Tournament is a long grind that stretches in April, which could give the squad enough time to get healthy and build a little chemistry on the way to a
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Read more articles by George Monroy