Spartans Earn No. 3 Seed in Midwest Region
 
 
 
Keith Appling and the Spartans are the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region.

 
Keith Appling and the Spartans are the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region.
 
 

March 17, 2013

Printable Bracket | NCAA Tournament Central

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State has earned an NCAA bid for the 16th straight year and was named a No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region. The Spartans (25-8) will face No. 14 seed Valparaiso (26-7) Thursday in Auburn Hills, Mich., at 12:15 p.m. The game will be televised on CBS.

Michigan State's streak of 16 straight NCAA Tournament appearances is the longest current streak among Big Ten schools and third longest in the nation (Kansas, 24; Duke, 18). It also marks the second-longest streak in Big Ten history (Indiana, 18 consecutive tournaments between 1986-2003).

The Crusaders won both the Horizon League regular season and tournament championship. Valparaiso defeated Wright State in title game of the Horizon League Tournament, 62-54, to earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Memphis, champions of Conference USA, earned a No. 6 seed in the Midwest Region. The Tigers will play the winner of Saint Mary's/Middle Tennessee, who both earned No. 11 seeds and will play in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio, on Tuesday.

The Midwest Regional is set for March 29 and March 31 (Friday, Sunday) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Coach Izzo PC | Student-Athlete PC | Selection Reaction


Quotes from NCAA Selection Sunday Press Conference

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

Opening statement ...
I'm excited to be close to home. I think it has 90 percent positive, you know there is always the 10 percent keeping players focused on. Sometimes if you get them away, it's a little better. To be here for our families, to be here for travel, to be here for hopefully a bunch of Spartan fans who will get to go to the games, save costs; to be here for every reason is good. Yet you still have to play the games, it doesn't give you any wins as we have learned some times. It does help. Valpo(raiso) I know a little bit about. I have seen them, I know the coach, but I won't even comment until I watch some film and study some stats on them. I look at the Big Ten and I think we got a pretty good deal. I thought Wisconsin might move up a little bit, but I was really happy that Minnesota got in. I was hoping for Iowa, but maybe I am begging. I thought we covered just about every seed there is to cover. That's what happens when your league is very good.

On heading into the tournament...
We had a meeting earlier; I told them what I thought we'd be. I thought we could be a three or a four seed. I said I thought we would be a three, I thought if we could do that, that we could be in Auburn Hills. But I didn't know that. It is a little different now than it used to be. I just told them that we have some work to do. We just have to clean up some rough edges is what we have to do. We have really proven again that we can play with anybody. And we have won our share of them, but the little mistakes-the out of bounds plays, the this and that, the little mistakes win and lose games this time of year. We have to make sure that we do enough that it doesn't happen to us. We have to make sure that we are finding ways to win. So free throw shooting, all the special teams things and then playing a little smarter. That was the most disappointing part of yesterday. I thought we played harder than the day before, I didn't think we played smarter. We looked at the film today. We spent a lot of time on it. I think they realized where we are taking the ball out and we lose five points with us having the ball. In a game that was a one point game, those are difference makers. Sometimes that's the advantage of going through a conference tournament and losing when it is one and done time. It registers a little bit better. They can see it a little bit more and hopefully now we will correct it and that's the next big step.

On the familiarity of the possible route...
You know it is hard to look ahead to any of that. Coach speaking, never do that, but in human speaking you do that. You just look at the whole thing and say, `okay here is who you have to play to get there, here's what you have to do.' I love being at The Palace, I think that's great. I love Indy if we get past the first weekend. I think that would be great. I think our players are happy for their families and where we go. It gets to be an expensive venture where people start to question can I do this, can I do that. At least we don't have those issues with how this one goes. So we have to take care of business, one game at a time. But we have my ole buddy there, Charlie Bell, who made the famous quote for Michigan State. I think it was used before "to be the best you have to play the best." And I think early on, we have to play games that we have to find a way to win. If we get out of the first weekend, we really have two one-seeds, because Duke was potentially a one seed until yesterday or the day before. We got the overall one seed and we have been in Indy playing them before. But at least, as you look at the whole bracket, unfortunately I'll bet you a million people will say tonight on those telecasts that the hardest thing to do is get out of the first weekend.

On the health of the Spartans...
Well I think that B.J. (Branden Dawson) is just dealing with the wear and tear of the season; there is nothing wrong with the structure of his knee. It is just wear and tear, because he wasn't able to do what most people do in the off season. Gary (Harris) is still the one that worries me because he plays hurt; he acts like he did to you guys after. He doesn't want to tell anybody what's going on. There's no question he's not the same there. He was really coming along. I don't think that this is a major setback, but I think it is something he will have to live with and deal with until he can get some rest until the end of the season. He's such a warrior that I don't see a major problem. It doesn't affect his shooting. This time it was his left arm again. So it's better than the right arm. For the most part, Trice is the healthiest he has been. Our other guys are pretty healthy. So I mean, Gary hasn't been this healthy for a long, long time where he is totally healthy. So I don't think it has been any factor. I think he will play a lot, I really do.

Junior center Adreian Payne

On playing in Auburn Hills, Mich...
We're very excited with where we are placed. We're going to be down the street basically. We'll have a lot of fans coming and we're very excited. Us being at The Palace is a plus because all of our fans get to come.

On the mindset of the team going into the tournament...
I think we're very focused right now. We see where we are at and we see where we've got to play. We know what we've got to do to get better. We've got some experience in the tournament. We've just got to focus in and take it game by game.

On last game...
We've just got to get more comfortable with our teammates as far as switching and communication.

On whether to focus on Valparaiso or Michigan State...
We're just worried about us right now. The main thing is to just worry about Michigan State.

On lack of reaction to selection...
We were excited. You may not have seen it, but we were excited to be able to play in front of our fans.

On playing outside of the Big Ten...
It's exciting. We finally get to play somebody else and see some new faces and hopefully beat up on some other teams.

Freshman guard Gary Harris

On setback from injuries...
I wouldn't say there are any setbacks. I still feel pretty good right now and I'll just continue to get better.

On areas the team needs to improve on...
I would say our communication aspect on defense. A lot of times, we get mixed up and a lack communication gives the defenses easy back ends. I mean we're losing games by two or three points, so if we didn't have that miscommunication we would win those games.

On being frustrated with communication...
At times in the game it can get frustrating, but at the end of the day everyone needs to get better at it so you can't get mad at one person; it's a whole team thing. We just have to get better at it.

On the team's versatility...
We have a lot of guys that can have an impact on the game so that works in our favor, especially in the tournament. We might have matchup problems in one game that we might not have in the next. That's just good for us as we go down the road.

On staying focused...
Of course you think about it, but you've take care of the first game first. If we don't win that game, there is no next game; there is no Indianapolis. We've just got to concentrate on what's in front of us.

On opponent defenses...
You've just got to make more cuts, set up the defense more and just watch the film and find different areas where the defense has soft spots.

On what to take away from the Big Ten tournament...
We've got to have better communication and start doing the little things. We lost our last game by three and if we had better communication, got an extra loose ball, not have so many turnovers, then we might have won that game.

Junior guard Keith Appling

On respect for mid-major teams like Valparaiso...
I think you have to have a great amount of respect for a team like that because in this tournament, it's win or go home and if you take any team for granted on any given night you can be upset and go home. That's one of the things we don't want to happen. We just have to watch the film and focus in for forty minutes.

On his and the team's focus...
It's my job to get others involved and help them have an impact on the game. That's one of the things that I keep in the back of my mind every time I step on the floor.

On what is critical for the team to make a run in the tournament...
Communication on both ends of the floor. I feel like if we pick up our communication, a lot of bad things won't happen. If we can improve on that area, we'll have a great run in the tournament.

On still developing communication at this point in the season...
You can say that, but at the same time there's nothing you could really do about that. You can harp on it as much as you want, but it's something that has to be done. I feel like everyone in our locker room has to make a conscious effort to work on it. I don't think anyone is not communicating on purpose. It's something I feel like we're working on and we're going to get better.

On the atmosphere at The Palace with Michigan and Michigan State fans...
I don't think it's going to be any different, but at the same time I feel like our fans that are there are going to help us. One thing that is very important is that they're always going to be there to help us gain momentum.