Michigan State vs. Mississippi State Prediction, Odds and Key Players for NCAA Tournament First Round (Bet Under)

College basketball betting preview, prediction and best bet for Michigan State-Mississippi State.

Mar 15, 2024; Nashville, TN, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs forward Tolu Smith (1) celebrates a play against Tennessee.
Mar 15, 2024; Nashville, TN, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs forward Tolu Smith (1) celebrates a play against Tennessee. / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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Is it Tom Izzo time? 

The coach is synonymous with March. Will this year’s Spartans squad make another run to the second weekend? Michigan State won just one game in the Big Ten Tournament before bowing out in a close game to Purdue. The Spartans have a tough draw against a 21-win Mississippi State squad in a game lined near pick ‘em. 

Mississippi State, dancing for the second-straight year under Chris Jans, upset Tennessee in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion Auburn. The Bulldogs had lost four straight to end the regular season, but found some momentum with the start of the postseason. Can they keep it up in the first round of March Madness? Here’s the betting breakdown of the matchup with a best bet. 

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Michigan State vs. Mississippi State Odds, Spread and Total

Michigan State vs. Mississippi State Betting Trends

  • Michigan State is 18-14-1 ATS this season
  • Mississippi State is 17-16-1 ATS this season
  • Michigan State is 15-11 ATS as a favorite this season
  • Mississippi State is 4-6 ATS as an underdog this season
  • The OVER is 14-19 in Michigan State games this season
  • The OVER is 16-18 in Mississippi State games this season

Michigan State vs. Mississippi State How to Watch

  • Date: Thursday, March 21
  • Game time: 12:15 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Spectrum Center
  • How to watch (TV): CBS
  • Michigan State record: 19-14
  • Mississippi State record: 21-13

Michigan State vs. Mississippi State Key Players to Watch

Michigan State

Tyson Walker: The senior guard ended the regular season with a 30-point performance in a close loss to Indiana on the road. In the Big Ten Tournament, he combined for 30 points on 12-of-33 shooting with a half-dozen turnovers. Walker leads the Spartans in scoring at 18.2 points per game. 

Mississippi State 

Tolu Smith: An enforcer down low and a solid scorer, Smith averages 15.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game while shooting 56.4% from the field. Smith turned in a pair of double-digit rebound performances in the SEC Tournament, including a 10-point, 10-board double-double in the semifinal loss to Auburn. 

Michigan State vs. Mississippi State Prediction and Pick 

Will defenses dominate? 

On paper, this is one of the best matchups in the NCAA Tournament if you’re a fan of hard-nosed defense. Michigan State, No. 8 in KenPom in defensive efficiency, forces turnovers at a top-75 rate, and Mississippi State turns it over at the second-highest rate in the SEC (12.9 per game). Mississippi State scores over 51% of its points from inside the arc, though Michigan State is the No. 50 defense in defending 2-point shots. The Bulldogs are also one of the worst free-throw shooting teams in the nation. 

On the other side, Michigan State is No. 65 in 3-point shooting, but Mississippi State is the No. 6 team in the country against triples. The Bulldogs, 20th in defensive efficiency, have held opponents to just 41.6% shooting this season. Both defenses set the tone in Thursday’s early start. Take the under. 

Pick: UNDER 131


Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.