With the Big Ten Tournament pushed up to be hosted at Madison Square Garden, the Michigan State Basketball team had a week to sit back and speculate about who they play and where they play in the NCAA Tournament. After the dust had settled Sunday evening, the 3-seeded Spartans found out they would not have to do much traveling after being sentenced to play 14-seeded Bucknell out of the Patriot League at Little Caesers Arena in Detroit, MI.
The game is slated for Friday March 16.
“Im excited to be playing in our state,” said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. “I did not have any clue on where we would be seeded but I have said it before and I will say it again, it does not matter to me.”
The 3-seeded Spartans were selected in the Midwest region, headlined by Kansas as the 1-seed. The other top three seeds in the region include the 2-seeded Duke Blue Devils and the 4-seeded Auburn Tigers.
Heading into the reveal of the bracket, Michigan State had many potential destinations for the first and second rounds. Nashville, Pittsburgh, and Wichita were all possibilities. However, the Spartans will make the 88-mile drive down to Detroit.
“I was a little surprised,” Izzo said. “I did not think we would end up there.”
For sophomore point guard Cassius Winston, Michigan State’s trip to Mo-Town will be a homecoming.
“It is great,” said Winston. “It is great that my family will be there and I will try to get as many tickets as I can because it is the biggest stage and people are anticipating this.”
If Michigan State were to advance past Bucknell, the Spartans would match-up with either the 6-seeded TCU Horned Frogs or the 11-seed, either Arizona State from the PAC-12 or Syracuse from the ACC who will play against each other in the First Four to earn the right to play in Detroit.
The Spartans have experience at Little Caesers Arena, playing in the first college basketball game to be hosted there in a 86-73 win against Oakland University earlier this season.
Times and television stations have not been set for First Round games yet.