NCAA Tournament Round of 32 odds: No. 6 Memphis vs. No. 3 Michigan State

A trip to the Sweet 16 is on the line Saturday in Auburn Hills as Memphis faces Michigan State, with the Spartans opened as 5.5-point favorites on WagerWeb.com. Check our current lines.

Memphis beat Saint Mary’s 54-52 in the Round of 64 as Gaels point guard Matthew Dellavedova’s 3-pointer from the right wing missed everything as time expired. The Tigers led by 15 in the first half but nearly gave the game away in the final seconds. Memphis point guard Joe Jackson was the fastest player on the floor, able to cut through most of Saint Mary’s defense with relative ease. No Gael had close to the foot speed to check him correctly. The 6-foot-1 junior finished with 14 points, seven assists and six rebounds, but his ability to control the game for Memphis was critical for the Tigers against the Gaels and star Dellavedova. Jackson, though, almost gave the game away with a turnover late. D.J. Stephens was a beast against Saint Mary’s with eight blocks, and Tarik Black was solid off the bench with 12 points and seven rebounds.

Thursday was the fifth time in 57 all-time NCAA Tournament games that Memphis held its opponent to 52 or fewer points … and two of the previous instances happened before the shot clock was introduced. Memphis, which has only lost to NCAA Tournament qualifiers VCU, Minnesota and Louisville, as well as Xavier this season, has won seven straight games, and a staggering 25 of its last 26 overall.

MSU had little trouble in beating Valparaiso 65-54. Derrick Nix had 23 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to help power the third-seeded Spartans past 14th-seeded Valparaiso. The Spartans went on a 26-5 run in the first half to take control, and cruised to an easy victory. Nix scored 20 of his game-high 23 points in the paint. Nix had 17 field goal attempts in the paint, the most for any player in the last four Men’s Basketball Championships. Nix is the 2nd player in MSU history to have 20 points and 15 rebounds in a NCAA Tournament game, joining Johnny Green who did so twice in the 1950s.

Keith Appling has bounced back after struggling late, and shot 6-for-12 against Valparaiso, 3-for-5 from 3-point range. He also didn’t turn the ball over (the team had 17). Gary Harris hasn’t played as well the past two weeks, but did hit two 3-pointers in a key first-half stretch and has continued to play good defense. Memphis has an athletic group, including Jackson.

MSU is 10-2 all-time at the Palace at Auburn Hills. This game is a rematch of the 2008 Sweet 16 matchup in which the Derrick Rose- led Tigers knocked off the Spartans, 92-74 in Houston, en route to the national championship game. Memphis won the only other meeting as well, taking a 73-57 decision way back in 1967.

WagerWeb.com trends: Tigers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. win. Tigers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. Tigers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games. Spartans are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games. Spartans are 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. win. Spartans are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. Conference USA.

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