It’s that time of year again…
The time of year when “Survive and Advance” is the name of the game…when players from a school you’ve never heard of can become overnight superstars…and when we remember that TruTV is an actual channel on our cable lineups.
But we all know it better as…MARCH MADNESS!
The 68-team field for the NCAA Tournament was announced Sunday night, and Michigan State was selected to the “Big Dance” for the 20th consecutive season.
The Spartans are the 9-seed in the Midwest Region, and will play the Miami (FL) Hurricanes, the 8-seed, on Friday, March 17th in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Here’s what you need to know about Miami:
The Hurricanes, coached by Jim Larrañaga, finished 21-11 overall, 10-8 in ACC play (tied for 8th in the ACC). They’re making their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, going all the way to the Sweet 16 last year.
Normally when it comes to choosing the 68 teams that make the NCAA Tournament, the selection committee looks at “good wins vs. bad losses,” among other criteria. Well, from a “bad loss” standpoint…you’d be hard-pressed to even find one on Miami’s resume.
Out of their 11 losses, seven were to teams in the Top 25, and 10 were to teams that made the Tournament (the only loss to a team that wasn’t in the field was to Syracuse, which was one of the First Four teams OUT).
They also had three “good wins” on their resume – the Canes beat #9 UNC (a 1-seed in the Tournament) by 15 points on January 28th, they won AT #18 Virginia by six points on February 20th, and then beat #10 Duke (a 2-seed in the Tournament) by five points on February 25th. The wins against the Cavaliers and the Blue Devils came in back-to-back games.
The Hurricanes are led by three guards on the offensive end – senior Davon Reed, who averaged 15.0 PPG, followed by junior Ja’Quan Newton at 13.4 PPG and freshman Bruce Brown at 11.9 PPG. Defensively, senior forward Kamari Murphy paces the Canes off the glass – he led the team with 239 rebounds, including 78 offensive boards.
The winner of the game between the Spartans and the Hurricanes will draw the winner of the game between #1 Kansas (the second overall 1-seed in the Tournament) and the 16-seed in the Midwest Region, which will be decided in the First Four matchup between UC Davis and North Carolina Central on Wednesday.
Here’s everything you need to know:
(9) Michigan State vs. (8) Miami (FL)
Midwest Region – Round 1
WHEN: Friday, March 17th
TIME: 9:20pm ET
WHERE: BOK Center – Tulsa, OK
TV Network: TNT
WINNER WILL PLAY: Winner of (1) Kansas vs. First Four winner ((16) UC Davis vs. (16) NC Central)