March 14, 2010
Michigan State has earned an NCAA bid for the 13th straight year and was named a No. 5 seed in the Midwest Region. The Spartans (24-8) will face 12th-seeded New Mexico State (22-11) Friday at 7:20 p.m. ET in Spokane, Wash., in first-round action.
The Aggies claimed an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the Western Athletic Conference Tournament Saturday against Utah State.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The No. 5 seed Spartans (24-8) will open against 12th-seeded New Mexico State (22-11) in the Midwest Region on Friday in Spokane, Wash., and could face fourth-seeded Maryland or 13th-seeded Houston in the second round Sunday.
Michigan State shared the Big Ten title with Ohio State and Purdue, then lost its first game in the conference tournament to Minnesota. But with 13 straight NCAA appearances, the third-longest streak in Division I behind Kansas and Duke, Michigan State has a wealth of experience.
"If we're a sleeper this year, that's good, at least in somebody's mind," coach Tom Izzo said. "I'm just crazy enough to think we can do something in March."
Izzo's mentor, Jud Heathcote, was the coach of the 1979 NCAA champions and he lives in Spokane.
"Instead of sledgehammers and some of the things we've done, our players will have the fear of playing in front of Jud," Izzo said. "He probably willed us there. Now, they have to face the wrath of him. . . . I have a rule that after a loss I don't talk to him for four days. It hasn't been four days yet."
Led by point guard Kalin Lucas and forwards Draymond Green and Raymar Morgan, Michigan State hopes to match its success last season when it beat defending national champion Kansas and No. 1 seeds Louisville and Connecticut before falling to North Carolina in the title game.
"We still have something more to prove," Lucas said. "And a lot of people didn't think we were a Final Four team last year."