These aren’t the most exciting match-ups in the first round of the NCAA Tournament usually. And yes, IT’S A FIRST ROUND, STOP CALLING IT THE SECOND ROUND! YOU’RE TELLING ME, IT’S A “ROUND” MEANING 60/68 TEAMS AUTOMATICALLY GET A BYE. Ok, now that I’m done pointing out NCAA idiocy, I’ll stop yelling.
The Spartans enter the tournament with the #4 RPI and the #1 strength of schedule this year, not to mention the momentum of winning the Big Ten Tournament, so they’ll be tourney tested and tourney ready.
“a lot of people always say Coach Izzo takes off the Big Ten Tournament to get ready for the NCAA Tournament. That’s such a myth,” Draymond Green said.
Michigan State Spartans synopsis: In winning their first Big Ten Tournament title since 2000, the Michigan State Spartans did it with depth and role players, kind of like the 2000 National Championship team. Granted this team today doesn’t have four future NBA players (the ’00 team had Jason Richardson, Mateen Cleaves, Andre Hutson and Morris Peterson) so you can only go so far with this analogy…of course Draymond Green looks like a late first rounder, Branden Dawson looked like a 2014 prospect before the ACL injury, and Keith Appling could develop into a pro guy be his senior year.
But the 2000 and 2012 Spartans share both a BTT title and similarly good “glue guys” and role players.
Long Island Blackbirds synopsis: The West Egg nouveau riche will never catch up with the old money of the East Egg will they? Separated by a courtesy bay…sorry once you brought up Long Island, I couldn’t help but think of “the Great Gatsby.” 3rd in the nation in scoring, the Northeast conference champions put up almost 82 a game. They give it up more than any liberated, inebriated flapper, as they’re 159th in the nation in points against.
The Match-Up: If you’re one of the people who watches the NCAA Tournament as an excuse to go drinking, then this is the match-up for you! The biggest party school in the Big Ten vs. a school named for a place that produces one of the strongest drinks around. No one on Long Island is over 6-7 and three of the Blackbirds’ guards are under 6 feet. Therefore, expect Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix to have their way inside.
And for Brandon Wood, Keith Appling and Brandon Kearney to get lots of open looks on the outside. Also, the Blackbirds have NO ANSWER for Draymond Green.
Odds and Ends: How about Robinson Odoch Opong for the all name team? Vive le Quebecois for the Quebec City native.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.
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