Spartans and Bruins Tip Off in a 7-10 Match-Up

Posted: March 16, 2011 by Austin Bramley in Spartan Basketball

The Michigan State Spartans will travel to Tampa Florida to take on the UCLA Bruins in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament. The Spartans were given the 10th seed in the southeast region after they made a run to the semi-finals in the Big Ten tournament to solidify a spot in the big dance.

UCLA finished second in the Pac-10 regular season standings but fell to Oregon in the first round of the conference tournament. That early departure in the conference tournament may have cost UCLA a couple of  seeding points but with the 7th seed, they have a favorable match up in Michigan State,

Michigan State is 19-14 overall and went .500 in conference action with 9 wins and 9 losses. The Spartans went 6-13 against teams that are in the NCAA tournament but to be fair, they have been playing their best basketball of late.  With out the Spartans making a run in the Big Ten tournament its likely that they would be playing in the NIT right now, but with their run and Tom Izzo as their head coach it sparked thoughts of a Michigan State run in the NCAA tournament. The Spartans have been to eight final fours and have won two national championships.  Their overall NCAA tournament record is 52-23. Tom Izzo is the best coach in the country in the month of March and that’s why everyone was in denial when the Spartans were struggling. Now with them getting hot at the right time, its tough to give them an early departure on your bracket.

UCLA had a much better season then the Spartans had, in fact it was excelling. The Bruins currently have a record of 22-10 but have struggled against teams in the big dance with a 3-6 record. It took the bruins some time to get going as they lost four of their first seven games. They then went on to win 10 of their next 12 to stay on the winning path for good.

Like Michigan State, UCLA has their own famed basketball program in the NCAA tournament. The Bruins have a record of 98-38 with 18 final fours to add to their resume. With those numbers UCLA is all ready one of the best basketball programs in the country and we haven’t even added the 11 national championships yet.

This is definitely a tough game to analyze. UCLA has the better overall record then Michigan State does but Michigan State has the better overall record vs teams who are in the NCAA tournament and plays in a tougher conference. Reeves Nelson leads the Bruins in scoring as a 6-8 big man. Nelson is only a sophomore so how will he perform in the spotlight? Kalin Lucas leads the Spartans in scoring as a senior who has a load of experience and has palyed in these situations time and time again.

I think that will be the key of the game, how will the leadership differ between the two teams when the game is on the line? I think Michigan State gets it done in a close one to advance.

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Comments
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