Michigan State will headline the West Region of the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Spartans, who won the Big Ten Tournament, will be joined in this bracket by a bunch of other conference tournament champions.
Coming into this season, nobody expected the Spartans to be as legitimate a team as they have been. Then towards the end of the year, when the quality of play petered off a bit with back-to-back losses to Indiana and Ohio State, everyone was quick to jump off the bandwagon and note that they didn’t think this group was for real anyway. Of course, that lack of faith didn’t stop Michigan State from winning the Big Ten Tournament in dominating fashion – including an impressive victory over Ohio State that essentially locked up its current No. 1 seed.
As easy as it would be to dismiss this region’s top dogs after seeing Missouri and Louisville at the top of the bracket, and Florida towards the middle, that just seems silly at this point. Tom Izzo’s bunch is for real. The Spartans managed to win despite not having championship experience and not having Kentucky-esque talent all year long, and they very well could continue to do so en route to the Final Four.
Possible spoilers: Missouri, Louisville and Florida.
Full list of matchups:
No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 16 Long Island
No. 8 Memphis vs. No 9. Saint Louis
No. 5 New Mexico vs. No. 12 Long Beach State
No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 13 Davidson
No. 6 Murray State vs. No. 11 Colorado State
No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 14 BYU/Iona
No. 7 Florida vs. No. 10 Virginia
No. 2 Missouri vs. No. 15 Norfolk State