The Round of 32 of the 2023 NCAA Tournament continued on Sunday and two more Big Ten teams were in action. The league split its games.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 7 Michigan State Spartans 69, No. 2 Marquette Golden Eagles 60
It’s been a bizarre run for the Spartans this season. The team jumped out of the gate with plenty of momentum, but nosedived in January and played inconsistently down the stretch. It all left Michigan State with a middling seed in the NCAA field and a challenging path ahead to keep its season alive. Michigan State knocked off USC on Friday, but its biggest test would come on Sunday against a red hot Marquette squad.
The game itself would prove highly competitive. Michigan State won the opening minutes, but Marquette battled back by halftime and seemed to have the advantage for decent segments of the second half. However, as the offenses stalled, Michigan State went on a final push to grab the win. Tyson Walker led the way with 23 points. Joey Hauser also had 14 points and 10 rebounds as he battled his former team.
For Michigan State, this marks the program’s first trip to the Sweet 16 since 2016 and its second since 2015. The win likewise marks Tom Izzo’s 15th trip to the Sweet 16 since taking over at the helm of the Spartans. It’s an incredible accomplishment. Brendan Quinn of the The Athletic offered some context on the performance:
Tom Izzo heading to his 15th Sweet 16.— Brendan Quinn (@BFQuinn) March 19, 2023
Some perspective ...
He personally has more Sweet 16 appearances than all but 17 *programs* in college basketball, including 12 of 14 Big Ten programs. Lone exceptions are Indiana (22) and Michigan (17).
Izzo and his staff certainly deserve plenty of hat tips from fans and those around the conference, as Michigan State will be on the Big Ten team in the second weekend.
The Spartans improved to 21-12 overall with the win and will now prepare to face off against Kansas State on Thursday evening. Vegas and the advanced stats websites have it as a virtual tossup, so expect a good one.
-No. 5 Miami (FL) Hurricanes 85, No. 4 Indiana Hoosiers 69
The late game was another let down for the conference, as Indiana fell short against Miami in a game where the Hoosiers were thoroughly outplayed. Outside of a brief period around halftime, Indiana was frequently down double-digits in this one as Miami (FL)’s offense absolutely scorched Indiana’s defense to 1.23 points per possession. Isaiah Wong finished with an incredible 27 points and eight rebounds.
Generally speaking, Sunday’s game was a bit of a microcosm of Indiana’s season. The Hoosiers entered with high expectations and performed decently, but couldn’t live up to the massive hype delivered by fans. The team simply never had enough from the backcourt to deliver on the highest levels this season and it bit the Hoosiers again on Sunday night. It’s how Indiana lost by 16 points in a game where Trayce Jackson-Davis scored 23 points. There simply wasn’t enough from Jalen Hood-Schifino and Trey Galloway and others.
Sunday’s loss ends Indiana’s season at 23-12 overall. It will go down as a good campaign, but nothing special raising it to that next level, especially at a place with as much history as Indiana. The regular season sweep of Purdue was certainly noteworthy and a trip to the Round of 32 should never be taken for granted. However, Indiana was the Big Ten’s preseason favorite by many and failed to reach any of its ultimate goals, whether in the regular season or postseason.
Hoosier fans will now focus on the offseason, where Jackson-Davis and several other key contributors are expected to depart. Mike Woodson and his staff will have their work cut out in the weeks ahead.