This was Tom Izzo’s 14th tournament win as an underdog. Nick Ward fouls on the opening tip and is promptly taken out of the game. 7 turnovers with less than 10 minutes gone and at one point Michigan State was down 12 points. But We know what Big Puddin’ can bring. He and his teammates did not disappoint.
Bill Self is not in Kansas anymore
The easy part of the NCAA Tournament is over for the Kansas Jayhawks.
We got through round one. That is great, have a beer and celebrate. Now the road to the Sweet 16 goes through Bill Self, Josh Jackson, and National Player of the Year hopeful: Frank Mason. Kansas did not mess around while beating UC Davis 100-62 in the first round. While this is not an unbeatable Kansas team (they lost 4 times this year), this is a team that is clicking and has some fire power. McQuaid is required to play a big role, Bridges is going to need to go off and Nick Ward is going to have to do what he does: Shoot some ridiculous FG% and get the opponent to foul him.
Kansas versus Michigan State might’ve been a predictable Final Four match-up in past tournaments. The freshman-dominated Spartans (20-14) are now the No. 9 seed in the Midwest and college basketball fans get a blue-blood battle in the second round. TUS members want to believe the Jayhawks have to feel at least a little uneasy about it, especially if they watched any of Michigan State’s first-round victory over eighth-seeded Miami when we shrugged off that early 12 point deficit, made a 23 point swing and took an eleven point lead into the locker room at halftime. Then we began the second half on an 8-2 run and refused to let Miami back in the contest.
We are told that Jayhawks coach Bill Self allowed himself a peek ahead at the bracket.
Self was supposedly unnerved by what he saw, or making sure not to give future opponents any bulletin-board material.
“You look at that potential match-up if you advance past the first game of Miami and Michigan State and you say, ‘Didn’t Miami beat Duke?'” Self said. “And then you look at Michigan State and you say, ‘Hasn’t he been to seven or eight Final Fours?’ So I personally didn’t feel a ton of comfort or warm feelings by seeing that. It’s a hard first weekend without question.”
Kansas is led by senior guard Frank Mason III, who paced the Jayhawks with 22 points and eight assists in their first-round win. Mason is joined in the starting lineup by senior forward Landen Lucas and junior guards Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk.
And then there’s Kansas freshman Josh Jackson, who could be the X factor in the Jayhawks-Spartans contest.
Jackson had an alley-oop dunk and a spectacular drive to the basket for a layup that ignited Kansas midway through the first half against UC Davis.
By late Friday night, Izzo was already singing praises about Jackson, a Detroit native. But it’s clear the entire Jayhawks team has Izzo’s attention as well.
“Unfortunately, there’s a buzz saw in front of us, but we’ve had that all year,” Izzo said. “Might as well do it one more time.”
Ninth-seeded Michigan State meets top-seeded Kansas in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament on Sunday, a match-up of traditional heavyweights.
The winner will earn a spot in the Sweet 16, where it will face Purdue on Thursday. The Boilermakers beat Iowa State, 80-76, on Saturday and handily defeated Michigan State twice during the regular season.
Tip-off at the BOK Center is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. ET and CBS will broadcast the Midwest Region game. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and Kansas coach Bill Self will face off for the first time since 2014. Izzo owns a 4-2 record against Self.
Television not working?
The NCAA will stream the game on March Madness Live.
It is also on Sirius 136/XM 202 and http://www.spartansportsnetwork.com/
Who are the announcers for Michigan State-Kansas basketball?
Kevin Harlan will handle play-by-play for CBS, while Reggie Miller and Dan Bonner will provide analysis. Dana Jacobson will report from the sideline. Will Tieman will handle play-by-play alongside analyst Matt Steigenga on the Spartan Sports Network.
Contain Frank Mason III
Tum Tum Nairn has been Michigan State’s best option defensively at point guard … but Cassius Winston just brings another element offensively. The Spartans need Winston on the floor as much as possible. The question becomes whether he can stick with Mason, Kansas’ National Player of the Year candidate. Mason can create for himself and others, and he’s got one of the most lethal strokes in the country at 48.4-percent shooting from deep.
Sunday night is approaching, get ready to see the Josh Jackson vs Miles Bridges match-up.