March Madness Predictions: Will Miami hold off Michigan State? 3/17/17

  • March Madness Predictions: Will Miami hold off Michigan State? 3/17/17

March Madness Predictions: Will Miami hold off Michigan State? 3/17/17

Oklahoma State's Jawun Evans hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer against MI to cover the points spread in Las Vegas.

One of the hottest teams in the country right now, MI withstood a blistering pace from No. 10 Oklahoma State in the opening round game Friday, earning a 92-91 victory as Jawun Evans' last-second three-pointer closed the gap to one as time expired.

A pair of clutch D.J.

"You look at that potential matchup if you advance past the first game of Miami and Michigan State and you say, 'Didn't Miami beat Duke?'" Self said. Game time is yet to be determined. They've lost 3 of their last 4 games coming in and couldn't buy a basket at the start of the game - they fell behind by 12 points before the 7 minute mark.

The Jayhawks are the No. 1 seed in the Midwest region.

It wasn't an upset and didn't feature a game-winner at the buzzer, but Michigan-Oklahoma State is the type of complete, engaging game that will be hard to top on the NCAA Tournament's opening week. That's when Abdur-Rahkman and Walton Jr. found their stroke from deep again to take the 62-61 lead with 12:28 left. While that might last for a half, Kansas is too explosive to be shut down for 40 minutes. March is usually Tom Izzo's time to shine no matter the Spartans' regular season performance, minus last year's first round loss to Middle Tennessee. MI answered loudly, asserting its long-range prowess for one of the great storylines of the tournament.

Walton's slow start (1 of 6 in the first half) gave no hint of what was to come. Zak Irvin followed with another. The star guard missed a critical front end of a 1-and-1, and Walton made it hurt with a conversion in the lane for an 86-79 lead. Defensively, Miami basketball is yielding 63.7 points per game against the opposing teams.

But the Cowboys rallied, cutting the deficit to two twice in the final 8 seconds - only to watch the Wolverines close it out at the free-throw line.

Wilson finished with 19 points (6-12 FG, 6-6 FT), five rebounds and four blocked shots. Watson, a poised veteran who had 26 points and 11 assists, nailed 6-of-9 trifectas, and four other teammates also contributed to the barrage. Against UC Davis, Mason led his team in scoring with 22 points and almost got a double-double. MI committed just four turnovers all day, continuing its nation-low turnover ratio. The Spartans began the second half on an 8-2 run and refused to let Miami back in the contest.

Most media outlets are picking Miami to win.

Point spread: The Jayhawks opened as 8.5-point favorites; the total is at 147.5, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. Kingsley didn't finish the season matching his Preseason SEC Player of the Year projection, but he's playing like one of best big men in the tournament right now.