The Norfolk State Spartans are set to face the Baylor Bears. Check out our March Madness odds series, which includes our Norfolk State Baylor prediction, odds, and pick.
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The Norfolk State Spartans have a place in NCAA Tournament history. March Madness odds experts would point out that in 2012, Norfolk State joined the select club of No. 15 seeds which defeated No. 2 seeds in the Round of 64. You know that Norfolk State head coach Robert Jones, who became the school’s head coach not very long after that upset of Missouri 10 years ago, will tell his team about that special day and what it felt like. He will tell his players what it took to beat a No. 2 seed, a team which had a realistic shot at the Final Four and, by extension, the national championship. You know Norfolk State will give it everything it has in this game, something to keep in mind when making a Norfolk State Baylor prediction against the spread.

The Baylor Bears have been a MASH unit this season. They have already lost forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua for the rest of the entire campaign. Wednesday, they learned that L.J. Cryer, one of their best shooters and scorers, will be out for the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. He will miss this game and, if Baylor wins it, the following game against the Marquette-North Carolina winner. Cryer will very likely need to be healthy and reasonably effective on the second weekend — if Baylor is able to get to the Sweet 16 — in order for the Bears to return to the Final Four and defend their national championship. It is still a point of intrigue against a No. 16 seed: Just how much will Cryer’s absence, on top of other Baylor injuries, matter to this team?

Say this much, however: Baylor coach Scott Drew was working around injuries and limitations all season long. He constantly had to juggle his rotation not by choice, but by necessity. Guiding the Bears to a share of the Big 12 title with Kansas and piloting the defending champs to a No. 1 seed is a tremendous feat. Drew is plainly an elite coach, a far cry from the man who looked so out of his depth 10 to 12 years ago. This is something to remember when formulating a Norfolk State Baylor pick.

Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Norfolk State-Baylor odds:

March Madness Odds: Norfolk State-Baylor Odds

Norfolk State: +21.5 (-110)

Baylor: -21.5 (-110)

Over: 137.5 (-110)

Under: 137.5 (-110)

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Why Norfolk State Could Cover the Spread

The Baylor injuries will really matter, and the Spartans are going to treat this game as their Super Bowl, as you would expect of a 16 seed in its big spotlight moment on national television.

Why Baylor Could Cover the Spread

The Bears have shown time and time again that they can work around their injuries and still function at a very high level at both ends of the floor.

Final Norfolk State-Baylor Prediction & Pick

Norfolk State might get off to a good start in the first 10 minutes, but Baylor is so deep and so well-coached. The Bears will pull away with a large win.

Final Norfolk State-Baylor Pick: Baylor -21.5