Michigan State arrives in the Sweet 16 on a five-game winning streak, with fans and analysts around the country espousing the Spartans as one of the main contenders for the national title. First things first – to reach the Elite Eight, Michigan State must defeat Virginia tonight at Madison Square Garden. Given the background of Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett – the only coaches he’s ever served as an assistant are his father Dick Bennett and Bo Ryan – it can feel natural to compare Virginia to Wisconsin, and the two squads are indeed similar. In some ways, Virginia is Wisconsin-ing harder
Tom Izzo has Michigan State two wins away from another Final Four. The Spartans can get to Arlington, Texas, with victories over Virginia and either Iowa State-UConn this weekend in the East Region. With Izzo and his team in the spotlight, Steve Mariucci, one of Izzo’s best friends, decided to share an epic throwback photo of the two on Twitter. Thank you, Mooch! This is classic; in fact, it’s hard to imagine anyone not getting a laugh out of it. That said, Nike, the outfitter of Michigan State’s uniforms, probably isn’t the biggest fan of Izzo’s shirt. Tom Izzo &
Hello, Sweet 16! The first three rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament are in the books. Three Big Ten teams remain in the field as Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin will attempt to stamp their ticket to the Final Four in Arlington, Texas. Through three rounds of play, we have seen plenty of upsets, as well as outstanding individual and team performances. I’ve watched as many games I could, so here is a breakdown of my NCAA Tournament all-region teams, leading up to this week’s college hoops madness. There are plenty of familiar Big Ten names on this list.
It’s interesting to think about the possibility of a Michigan State vs. Michigan national championship game in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The way both teams are playing and the way the bracket is set up, it’s a possibility. Two teams from the same state meeting for the basketball national championship? It has happened just twice before, and both times it was Ohio State vs. Cincinnati (1961 and 1962). [ MORE: Video: Watch construction of Final Four court ] We have seen schools from the same conference play for the title more often. The last time it happened was in
The Sweet 16 is around the corner. Wisconsin takes on Baylor on Thursday, while Michigan plays Tennessee and Michigan State battles Virginia on Friday. Let’s break down the action involving the three Big Ten teams. [ MORE: View the official interactive NCAA bracket ] Over-seeded: Hard to say any of the Big Ten teams are over-seeded. Michigan and Wisconsin are No. 2 seeds. Michigan State is a No. 4. The Badgers may be—MAY BE—a smidge over-seeded. They did almost lose to No. 7 Oregon in the third round, rallying from a 12-point halftime deficit to win 85-77. If that game
If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, you can vote in our ongoing series of Big Ten social media polls for our weekday show #BTNLive. On tonight’s episode of #BTNLive at 6 p.m. ET, our experts discuss this question: How many Big Ten men’s teams will make the Final Four? The choices: None (#B1G0), one team (#B1G1), two teams (#B1G2) or three teams (#B1G3). How do you vote via social media? It’s simple. On Twitter, just use any of the above hashtags and we will tabulate them. On Facebook, go to BTN’s Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/BTN) and post your chosen hashtag there.
The NCAA tourney is down to the Sweet 16. No. 2 Michigan will battle No. 11 Tennessee; No. 2 Wisconsin will battle No. 6 Baylor; No. 4 Michigan State will take on No. 1 Virginia. Here are 16 fun numbers to keep in mind while watching the upcoming action. [ MORE: View 2014 Final Four court | Nine Sweet 16 coaches have B1G ties ] 55.5, points allowed per game by Virginia, Michigan State’s foe. That ranks No. 1 in the nation. The Cavaliers rank No. 9 in the nation in field-goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 38.6
Three Big Ten teams are one weekend, or two wins, away from advancing to the 2014 Final Four at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The court is ready for the event, and there’s a great time-lapse video of its construction, courtesy of Connor Sports. See the court that Big Ten teams hope they will be playing on Saturday, April 5, and Monday, April 7, in this post. [ MORE: Nine Sweet 16 teams led by coach with Big Ten ties ] Here’s a look at the 2013 court, and the 2012 court. h/t: @rushthecourt About Brent Yarina BTN.com senior editor
If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, you can vote in our ongoing series of Big Ten social media polls for our weekday show #BTNLive. On tonight’s episode of #BTNLive at 6 p.m. ET, our experts discuss this question: Which Big Ten men’s basketball team has the best chance to reach the Final Four? The choices for this poll: Michigan (#BTNMichigan), Wisconsin (#BTNWisconsin) or Michigan State (#BTNMSU). How do you vote? It’s simple. On Twitter, just use any of the above hashtags and we will tabulate them. On Facebook, go to BTN’s Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/BTN) and post your chosen hashtag there.
It wasn’t always easy, it wasn’t always pretty, but No. 2 Michigan, No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 4 Michigan State all took care of business in their opening two games and have advanced to the Sweet 16. Well, it was easy for Michigan, which dispatched No. 15 Wofford in the second round and then topped No. 7 Texas in the third round. [ MORE: View the official interactive NCAA bracket ] But, Wisconsin and Michigan State had to work–hard. Their opening games were a breeze, as the Badgers demolished No. 15 American but had to rally from a 12-point halftime