EAST LANSING, Mich. — It took a less convincing route there, but Michigan State is headed back to the same place it has been every year this century: the NCAA Tournament.
The Spartans have been placed as a No. 9 seed in the Midwest region of the 2017 March Madness bracket. They will face off against Miami (Florida) on Friday in Tulsa, Okla.
The game will be a rematch between Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga, whose George Mason team upset the Spartans in 2006 en route to a Final Four appearance. Should they win, the Spartans would have a chance at top-seeded Kansas, should the Jayhawks take care of business in the first round.
After placing in the NIT his first two seasons at Michigan State, Izzo has now led his program to 20 consecutive NCAA berths. His team’s three youngest scholarship players — freshmen Miles Bridges, Nick Ward and Cassius Winston — were not alive the last time MSU missed the NCAA Tournament.
That won’t change this year.
Michigan State finished the regular season at 19-14, 10-8 in the Big Ten. The Spartans bowed out of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday with a 63-58 loss to Minnesota. They finished 5-8 against the RPI top 50, with 10 wins against the RPI top 100.
This all came after losing seniors Gavin Schilling, Ben Carter and Eron Harris to season-ending knee injuries.
Per CBS Sports, only seven teams with 14 losses had ever received an at-large berth going into this season. Add the Spartans to the list.
Tipoff times and broadcast information has not yet been released.