Michigan State basketball: 2018 NCAA Tournament will define season

Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson Jr. celebrates with guard Matt Mc Quaid in the second half of their Big Ten basketball game against Maryland at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Thursday

Along the way, we learned that the Big Ten Tournament champion Michigan Wolverines were pegged as a 3-seed in the West Region. The only other team on their schedule this season that forces more turnovers than Montana was IL, who ranked sixth nationally at just under 17 per game forced. They regained the No. 1 ranking during a 13-game winning streak at the end of the regular season, but a loss to MI in the conference tournament dropped them to a No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region.

"I think right now, in our situation, we have the players, we have the coaches - we have all the things that we need for that goal to be achievable".

It could feel like a home game for the green and white when they tip-off Friday at 7:10 p.m.in Detroit. And, the Spartans (29-4 overall, 16-2 Big Ten) delivered the school's first league championship since 2012 and first outright title since 2009. They form a high-scoring backcourt. "Good coach - I don't know if he's great - good coach, tremendous experienced backcourt, they've got an National Basketball Association player".

The last two years, SportsLine's computer simulation correctly predicted nine out of 12 double-digit NCAA Tournament upsets in the first round with their computer algorithm. Tenth-seeded Oklahoma (18-13), which has lost eight of its last 10 and still hasn't won a road game in 2018, is in. The Spartans lost their second game in the Big Ten tournament to eventual champion MI, which ascended to the No. 7 spot nationally in the AP poll.

The No. 12 seeds usually outplay the No. 5s: The No. 12s went 1-3 last year, but the underdogs in the 5/12 matchup have won at least two games in 12 of the past 17 years.

"We're fully confident. We have to be", senior center Nana Foulland said. "After what we went through a couple years ago (in losing to Middle Tennessee State), our job will be to prepare for the weekend on Monday and Tuesday". If the Sooners awaken, we've seen what they can do. In the Midwest, No. 1 Kansas will likely have to beat No. 2 Duke or No. 3 Michigan State, both of which have more talent.

MSU will have no public sale of its ticket allotment. Michigan State is favored to win.

(6) TCU vs. (11) Syracuse or Arizona State - I look for Arizona State to win the game but in the end, TCU is the safer bet as they were more consistent during the season.

As will the spotlight of playing in Detroit in front of the familiar faces of friends, family and alums.

I don't think they win a bunch of games. "Not that you need any motivation this time of year".

"I've done stuff in the past, but no one outside of the team knew about it because it was before social media", he said.

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