Dec. 1, 2013
East Lansing, Mich.- - Michigan State has earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, and will play Ohio in the first round on Friday, Dec. 6. MSU will travel to Lexington, Ky. for the opening round of the tournament, where it will take on Ohio for the right to play either the host Wildcats or Duquesne in the second round on Saturday. All games in the first round will be played at Memorial Coliseum on the University of Kentucky campus; the site is also the host for the regionals, which will be held Dec. 13-14.
The 64-team field was unveiled on Sunday evening on ESPN U; the Big Ten sent eight teams into the field, the second-most behind the nine from the Pac-12. The Spartans finished the regular season with a 21-11 overall record, and were 10-10 in the Big Ten Conference. MSU played its final two games on the road last week, downing Michigan 3-0 in Ann Arbor to retain the State Pride Flag for the fourth straight season and then fell 3-2 at Purdue in the final match of the season.
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MSU is making its 16th NCAA Tournament appearance, and earned its third consecutive at-large bid to the Championship. MSU made it to the second round in 2011, and advanced to the Sweet 16 a year ago with wins over San Diego and then-defending National Champion UCLA in the second round. The 2003 team is the last one to make it to three consecutive Tournaments; MSU made ten consecutive NCAA Tournament fields from 1994-2003, and is making its sixth appearance in the nine-year tenure of current coach Cathy George.
The Bobcats went 27-5 in 2013, and won the East Division of the Mid-American Conference with a 14-2 record. Ohio won its eighth MAC Tournament title and eighth MAC regular season crown, marking just the sixth time in program history that Ohio won both titles in the same season. Ohio enters the NCAA Tournanment as winners in 11 of their last 12 matches. All-time, this will serve as the third meeting between the teams; the most recent meeting came in 2004, a 3-0 Spartan victory. The first meeting was in 1992, a 3-1 MSU win.
MSU faced Duquesne earlier this season in the Spartan Invitational, a 3-1 MSU victory. MSU is 4-0 all-time against the Dukes (20-9), which captured the Atlantic-10 title to earn the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky, seeded 15th in the Tournament, posted a 21-8 overall mark and were 13-5 and finished third in the Southeastern Conference behind undefeated Missouri and Florida. The Wildcats are 13-3 on their home floor this season. The all-time series between MSU and Kentucky is 4-1 in favor of the Spartans, with the most recent meeting coming in 2009.