Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:05 PM
Sunday - Session 1
The final round of NCAA Tournament games to determine this year’s Sweet 16 kicks off early Sunday afternoon with a pair of Big Ten teams looking to extend their stay into next week.
Starting in the East Region, Purdue takes on the Big East’s Butler Bulldogs followed by a matchup between Michigan State and the ACC’s Syracuse Orange.
East Region (Detroit, MI)
No. 10 Butler Bulldogs vs. No. 2 Purdue Boilermakers (CBS, 12:10 p.m. ET)
Opening Odds: Purdue -3 ½, 144
Butler bowed out of the recent Big East Tournament with in a lopsided 87-68 loss to Villanova as an 8 ½-point underdog. However, it was able to quickly dial-up some of that old NCAA Tournament magic with a convincing 79-62 romp over No. 7 Arkansas in Friday’s opening round as a two-point favorite. This was the first time the Bulldogs covered against the spread in their last five games with the total staying UNDER (150 points) for the third time in that same span.
Holding a modest five-point lead at the half, Butler turned up the heat to bury the Razorbacks over the final 20 minutes of that game. The duo of senior forward Kelan Martin (27 points) and sophomore guard Kamar Baldwin (24 points) led the way in Friday’s win. These two players have been leading the way all season long as the Bulldogs’ top two scorers. Butler is averaging 79.1 points per game this season and shooting 47.3 percent from the field. It has connected on 35.8 percent of its shots from three-point range.
The Boilermakers made a run to the Big Ten Tournament title game against Michigan, but they came up short as four-point favorites in a 75-66 loss. They drew Cal-State Fullerton in the opening round of this tournament and got things going early in a 74-48 romp as 20-point favorites. This was just the second time in Purdue’s last 14 games it covered ATS including a PUSH in a three-point loss to Michigan State on Feb. 10.
Friday’s win came at a very steep price with senior center Isaac Haas’s season-ending elbow injury. He was Purdue’s second-leading scorer with 14.7 PPG while pulling down 5.7 rebounds a game. Sophomore guard Carsen Edwards stepped up his game on Friday as the team’s leading scorer this season with 15 points and four rebounds. He is averaging 18.5 PPG as part of the Boilermakers’ scoring average of 80.9 PPG.
-- The Bulldogs are 21-5-2 ATS in their last 28 NCAA Tournament games with the total going OVER in five of their last six nonconference games.
-- The Boilermakers have failed to cover in six of their last eight games against the Big East and the total has gone OVER in five of their last seven games against this conference.
-- These two met back in December with Purdue cruising to an 82-67 victory as a seven-point favorite. Butler still has a 3-1 edge both SU and ATS in the last four meetings with the total going OVER in three of those games.
Midwest Region (Detroit, MI)
No. 11 Syracuse Orange vs. No. 3 Michigan State Spartans (CBS, 2:40 p.m. ET)
Opening Odds: Michigan State -8, 129 ½
The Orange will be playing their third game in this tournament after drawing Arizona State in the First Four Round. They got past the Sun Devils 60-56 on Wednesday as slight one-point underdogs before pulling off a 57-52 upset against No. 6 TCU as 4 ½-point underdogs on Friday. Syracuse is 4-1 both SU and ATS in its last four games with the only loss coming against North Carolina in the ACC Tournament. The total has stayed UNDER in four of those five contests.
Syracuse has been known for its stifling defense all season long with a points-allowed average (63.9) that was ranked 12th in the country. The Orange have held teams to fewer than 60 points in three of their last five games. When it comes to scoring, sophomore guard Tyrus Battle has led the way with 19.3 PPG, but he has been held to a combined 22 points in his last two starts. Freshman forward Marek Dolezaj was Syracuse’s leading scorer on Friday with 17 points.
Michigan State won the Big Ten regular season title at 16-2 SU in conference play, but it ran into a buzz saw against rival Michigan to make an early exit from the conference tournament in a 75-64 loss as a five-point favorite. The Spartans faced No. 14 Bucknell in the opening round of this tournament and struggled to an 82-78 victory as 14 ½-point favorites. They have now failed to cover in their last four games as part of a costly 2-9-2 record ATS over their last 13 outings.
Miles Bridges scored 29 points and pulled down nine rebounds to help the Spartans advance to the second round. The talented sophomore guard has been Michigan State’s leading scorer all season long with 17.3 PPG and he is the second-leading rebounder with seven a game. Sophomore guard Joshua Langford added 22 points to Friday’s winning effort as one of three players in double figures. The Spartans are five deep in double-digit scorers this season while averaging 81.0 PPG.
-- The Orange have covered in six of their last seven games in the NCAA Tournament and the total has stayed UNDER in their last four nonconference games.
-- The Spartans are 4-1 ATS in their last five games against the ACC with the total going OVER in their last six games in this tournament.
-- Going all the way back to 2001, Syracuse is a perfect 4-0 both SU and ATS against Michigan State with the total evenly split 2-2. The last time these two met was in 2010.