MI hit 16 3-pointers to set a school record for an NCAA Tournament game, but the Wolverines trailed 64-62 before going on a 14-4 run. That’s the most wins by a school as a lower seed in tournament history. And I won’t be shocked if Andy Enfield ends up in the Sweet 16 for the second time, against all odds.
Point guard Frank Mason III might be the best lead guard in America and the Jayhawks have at least five players who are capable of going off at any given time. He had another big game in the tournament opener against UC Davis, finishing with 22 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds. The Shockers rank seventh in three-point percentage, but the Wildcats own the country’s 11th-best three-point defense, by opponent percentage.
Earlier in the week, before Kansas knew whether it would see the Spartans or Hurricanes in the second round, Jayhawks coach Bill Self allowed himself a peek ahead at the bracket. But they had ended the regular season with an eight-game winning streak.
“My husband is from MI so I am a Spartan fan”, says Spartan fan Angela Bell.
Oklahoma State shot 54.7 percent from the field and grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, allowing it to counter punch just about every time MI made a run.
Miami has lost three of its last four entering the tournament to fall to 21-11 on the season. Then, the shots suddenly started falling and Hurricanes’ poor offense showed all of it’s inaptitude. Izzo, in his 22nd-year as MSU’s head coach, owns a 7-5 all-time mark against Self, including a 4-2 record against his Jayhawks, a 2-3 mark when Self was at IL and a win over Self’s Tulsa team in 1998. So what happened? First of all, the Spartans stopped turning the ball over.
Ian Baker and Braxton Huggins each scored 19 points for New Mexico State (28-6).
MSU advanced to Sunday’s play by mugging Miami on Friday, 78-58. If Bridges and Ward get into foul trouble, which they often do, MSU has no chance at all. Miles Bridges, Nick Ward and Joshua Langford blitzed the Hurricanes for 50 points on 21-31 from the floor, had 18 rebounds, and made four of their eight three point attempts. The victor faces the Kansas-UC Davis victor on Sunday. And as much as I’m looking forward to the game, it’s frustrating that they’re playing each other in the Round of 32. The Jayhawks are looking to uphold their No. 1 seed and advance to another Sweet 16. Jo Lual-Acuil scored 16 points and Johnathan Motley added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Bears (26-7), who were upset in the first round by Georgia State and Yale the previous two years. That gave Michigan State a 38-27 edge at the break.
Something to root against: Multiple showings of those Capital One commercials with Charles Barkley, Spike Lee and Samuel L. Jackson, especially the one where they sing on an airplane. Can the Spartans hang on and make it interesting? Kansas can defend and they are strong in the rebounding game. The obvious issue is that Kansas won all of those games despite giving up large totals to the opposing frontcourt.