Time: 9:20pm ET TV: TBS
Tonight's meeting between UCLA and Michigan State will be the first time the two teams have met up in the NCAA Tournament. This comes as a bit of a surprise as the last six Final Fours have included Michigan State or UCLA. Both of these programs are storied and have both have had many Final Four appearances.
Aside from the history, these two programs will look to get back on track. After missing the NCAA Tournament last year, UCLA looks to regain it's former dominance in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan State looks to continue to prove that they are a team built for March, with a coach built for March, as they look for their third straight Final Four appearance this year. UCLA recently made a run of three straight Final Four appearances before they has a downfall in 2010, when they missed the tournament all together.
Recent Final Four Apperances:
UCLA: 2006*, 2007, 2008.
Michigan State: 2000**, 2009*, 2010.
** Denotes National Champion
* Denotes National Runner-up
UCLA BRUINS STAT SHEET:
UCLA has four player that average double figures in scoring. Three of those guys, Nelson, Lee and Honeycutt, all average around 13 point per game. The scoring is pretty spread out on this team, if you shut one of them down, another player can step up.
MICHIGAN STATE STAT SHEET:
Kalin Lucas for Michigan State has been great this year coming back from an achilles injury. He will probably be himself and score his usual. As for Durrell Summers, Izzo has struggled with him this year. He can not really afford to have a bad game. If he does, Michigan State will need to make for it on the defensive end. Draymond Green also needs to have a decent game. Rebounds will be key and he is their go-to-guy for rebounds.
Quote from UCLA:
"I think that we've come along really great towards the end of the season, defensively especially, and I think that that's really going to help our team in the tournament, as long as you play defense, you're going to be in every game. That's what coach preaches to us, and that's what we try to portray out there on the floor."
- Jerime Anderson
Quote from Michigan State:
"We've been under pressure the whole year. It really mounted in the middle of January because all of a sudden it doesn't look like we can win the Big Ten, and then it was can we get in the NCAA tournament, and these guys haven't had a minute to relax,"
"I told them yesterday, you know, that is one thing I have great respect for. A lot of teams kind of go off the deep end and don't come back. I mean, we've survived. We're like the NCAA tournament. Survive and advance. We've survived, and we're advancing a little bit."
- Tom Izzo
ESPN Point Spread: Michigan State +1.5 UCLA -1.5
Prediction: I saw, for what it's worth, that Michigan State's March run begins here with a two point win in a buzzer beater. I think it will be really close.