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Added March 16th, 2011 by Scott

March Madness: UCLA (7) vs. Michigan State (10) in opening round NCAA Tournament action

UCLA Bruins (7) vs. Michigan State Spartans (10) Thurs. March 17, 2011 9:20 p.m. EST

Over the past couple of years, both the UCLA Bruins (7) and the Michigan State Spartans (10) have really struggled to play at a high level in college basketball despite being amongst the elite teams in the past. There has been no lack of talent, but with all the players making the jump to the NBA, head coaches Ben Howland (UCLA) and Tom Izzo (Michigan State) have had trouble trying to get these teams back to prominent status in the NCAA.

Fortunately, despite their recent struggles over the past few years, the Bruins and the Spartans were able to get back into the NCAA Tournament. As arguably the best matchup in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, the UCLA Bruins (7) and the Michigan State Spartans (10) will go head-to-head in a highly anticipated game in the Southeast Region.

Even though these two storied college basketball programs will have their work cut out for them in the later rounds against very good teams like the BYU Cougars (3), Pittsburgh Panthers (1), Florida Gators (2) and the Kansas State Wildcats (5), their main focus will be advancing to the next round as neither team will be backing down as a win in this game could put them in the NCAA title conversation.

As of right now, the Michigan State Spartans (10) have been given the edge in their first matchup of the 2011 NCAA Tournament with a -1.5 point spread. Even though they are the lower seed, the odds makers believe that Tom Izzo can get this team right back on track in their first game.

Despite the Spartans being given the edge, I believe the Bruins are the better team coming into this game and should get the win to pull off the slight upset.

For Thursday’s NCAA Tournament action, the following online sportsbooks have the best odds and spreads:

BetDSI Sportsbook:
Spread: Michigan State Spartans -1.5 & UCLA Bruins +1.5
Moneyline: Michigan State Spartans -125 & UCLA Bruins +105
Over/Under: Michigan State Spartans 110 UCLA Bruins 110 under (125)

BetDSI Sportsbook:
Spread: Michigan State Spartans -1.5 & UCLA Bruins +1.5
Moneyline: Michigan State Spartans -125 & UCLA Bruins +105
Over/Under: Michigan State Spartans 110 UCLA Bruins 110 under (125)

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