Men's College Basketball: Bison open with Michigan State on Friday

Doug Mendoza
March 15, 2018

The Michigan State Spartans (29-4) are coming from a 75-64 loss to Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament. The Spartans have elite top-end talent including likely top-15 National Basketball Association draft picks Jaren Jackson Jr. and Miles Bridges, and they have solid depth. The team abounds with depth and experience.

(8) Seton Hall vs. (9) N.C. State - This I think is a tremendous matchup between two teams that are much better than where they are seeded. How heavy has that weight been? Don't be shocked if this deep Spartans team advances to Izzo's eighth Final Four and wins the Big Ten's first title since MSU cut down the nets in 2000. Without the two athletic sophomores able to apply the pressure, Jackson isn't quick enough to vanguard the paint, and Michigan State's normally bulletproof defense begins hemorrhaging. This might be one of coach Muffet McGraw's finest accomplishments Notre Dame lost four pivotal players to injury, but only three games on the season. Still, when Winston is on, he is one of the nation's best lead guards. Stephen Brown averages 14.9 points and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 48 percent from the floor.

Rebounds: Ward 7.2; Bridges 6.9; Avg team margin (plus-10.4).

Sending multiple teams to San Antonio would likely overshadow a season when the Big Ten was arguably the worst from top to bottom in recent memory, but breaking the conference's national title slump would be an even bigger statement.

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"I didn't have any clue on where we would be seeded, and I've said it before and I'll say it again, it didn't matter to me", MSU coach Tom Izzo said. It's hard for any team to match the size and athletic ability of this bunch.

Last season, the Buckeyes won their fifth consecutive Big Ten title, and eighth overall, at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis. I'm not as excited about playing Michigan State as some other people are because they're really good. Back in 2005, the Bison were a Cinderella, knocking off No. 3 Kansas. Bucknell lost 93-81 at North Carolina on November 15 and fell 80-78 three days later at Maryland. The Grizzlies do carry a solid back court tandem of Ahmaad Rorie and Michael Oguine, who combine to average 33 PPG. They pace a squad that averages a Patriot League-high 80.1 points.

Rebounds: Thomas 9.2; Foulland 7.1; Avg team margin (plus-1.6). Should Michigan State get by Bucknell, it will meet the victor of No. 6 TCU vs.

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