MI shipped out to West Region, will play Montana in Wichita

MI shipped out to West Region, will play Montana in Wichita

Michigan State was ranked No. 1 on January 1 for the first time since 2016, but the Spartans dropped from the top spot the following week with losses to Ohio State and Michigan. Tom Izzo maintains that all focus should be on basketball moving forward in March, but there are plenty of questions that surround the MSU basketball program, as well as the athletics department as a whole. How heavy has that weight been?

The team, which won the WNIT championship last season, was on the bubble a year ago after losing three of its final four games in the regular season. But beyond Bridges, this team has a roster that not only could get to the Final Four, it could win it.

Keeping all of that in mind, my picks in the regional finals are Virginia over Tennessee, Villanova over Texas Tech, Michigan State over Seton Hall and Gonzaga over North Carolina. First-year assistant Luke Yaklich has made an instant impact serving essentially as a defensive coordinator, helping MI rank among the nation's best by giving up just 63.5 points a game. Yes, the 6-0 sophomore can be inconsistent. As a team, Michigan State is scoring 81 points per game on 50.4% shooting from the field which is the 6th-best field goal percentage in the country, in addition to the 5th-highest 3-point percentage in the nation at 41.3% from downtown this season.

Izzo might have his most talented team with potential top-five National Basketball Association draft pick Jaren Jackson Jr., a 6-foot-11 freshman, and All-America sophomore Miles Bridges.

MI now is tied for No. 10 in the PairWise rankings, which is what the NCAA selection committee uses to choose and place teams. And it puts pressure on teams with penetrating guards Zavier Simpson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman.

Dolphins plan to release Ndamukong Suh
However, he's still a highly-disruptive, run-stuffing interior lineman and most recently earned All-Pro accolades in 2016. Should the Dolphins designate him a post-June 1 cut, they'll save $17 million in 2018 and $19 million in 2019.

Top Scorers: Miles Bridges 16.9; Nick Ward 12.6; Cassius Winston 12.6. Jackson has been a revelation, earning Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors and emerging as the ultimate rim protector. Ohio State is making its 28 appearance in the NCAA Tournament and owns a 49-26 (.653) overall record.

(5) Clemson vs. (12) New Mexico State - I smell UPSET here! The next year, Bucknell dumped No. 8 Arkansas. Bucknell is led by three seniors in Zach Thomas, Nana Foulland and Stephen Brown.

Conference: Patriot League. Bid: Automatic.

If it beats the Titans, a team that has attempted the ninth-fewest 3-pointers in Division I, Purdue will face the victor of Butler-Arkansas.

"It's always cool to see your name up there in that situation", Bucknell Head Coach Nathan Davis said. No. 11 Arizona State/Syracuse play-in game.

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