Many are picking the No. 11 seed Gophers to knock off No. 6 UCLA in the first round of their South Region clash. Yes, Minnesota is in a funk, losing three in a row and seven of 10. But this still is a talented, athletic and physical team that’s capable of big things with players like Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins, Rodney Williams and Trevor Mbakwe, among others.
For this year’s NCAA tourney preview edition, Sports Illustrated is producing four regional covers. One of the covers features a Big Ten star. It’s Indiana junior Victor Oladipo. See the cover in this post.
Bracket makers didn’t do Michigan State any favors, putting it in the Midwest Region—which most experts feel is the toughest with No. 1 overall seed Louisville sitting atop it. That said, the Spartans get to play the first weekend in Auburn Hills, Mich., and if they advance to the second weekend, they play in Indianapolis.
Michigan State’s Keith Appling brought down the United Center with his one-handed posterizing dunk over Iowa’s Melsahn Basabe in the Big Ten tournament. As impressive as the dunk was, it wasn’t the only one that delighted during the four-day event. Watch the Big Ten tourney dunks in this video.
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Michigan guard Trey Burke is focused on the here and now, trying to net his first NCAA tourney win after the Wolverines were dumped in the first round of the Big Dance last season by Ohio. But Burke was asked where he’ll be playing next year. His answer: “I don’t know.” Let’s kick off daily links right there.
This team has a legit shot to advance to the Final Four and cut down the nets. It also has a shot to get dumped in its second game by the winner of the No. 5 VCU-No. 12 Akron game. Get by the first two games—including the opener vs. No. 13 South Dakota State–and No. 1 Kansas may be lurking in the Sweet 16 of this tough South Region.
Big Ten fans and Wisconsin fans, in particular, are going to hear a lot about Marshall Henderson between now and Friday’s Wisconsin-Ole Miss NCAA tourney game. The much-talked-about Henderson receives more than his share of national attention, nearly as much the result of his personality as his overall game. On Monday, Henderson tweeted about facing the Badgers.