Can Michigan State make a miraculous run for March Madness glory?


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Michigan State has been one of the hard teams to predict this year. It has been a season of lengthy winning streaks and three game losing streaks against mediocre competition. But can it make a deep March run toward college basketball glory?

Head coach Tom Izzo’s Spartans have made 22 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. That’s third most behind Duke and Kansas. This could prove to be important as experience matters in this region of the bracket.

Let’s start off with what has happened recently. The Spartans have come off of an emotional Big Ten Tournament with victories over Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan. The win against the Wolverines came at a great cost – losing Kyle Ahrens to a brutal lower leg injury.

Can this be a rallying point for the squad? They start with 15-seed Bradley, the champion of the Missouri Valley conference with the automatic bid. Last time MSU was a two seed, they lost to Middle Tennessee State in heartbreaking fashion as they were heavily predicted to win the national championship.

The Spartans might not want that to happen to them again after all of the scrutiny they received for the loss.  They will easily defeat the Braves and head onto the second round to play the winner of 7-seed Louisville and 10-seed Minnesota.

The game after that will potentially pit the green and white against LSU. This game is winnable, as the Tigers have lost head coach Will Wade to suspension, which could prove to be more catastrophic than they think.

Then comes the most important matchup in the path to the Final Four, the Duke Blue Devils. Coming in with two surefire top five NBA draft picks in Zion Williamson and R.J. Barret, the Blue Devils look to be unstoppable.

But the Spartans can do it. They have a prolific point guard and player of the year Cassius Winston who can dish out assists like mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving. He got snubbed from national player of the year consideration, which could make him want to prove to the nation just how prolific he is.

They also have emerging stars Xavier Tillman and Kenny Goins who have taken up the reigns as starters in the absence of Josh Langford, Nick Ward and now Ahrens. They did get Ward back after a fracture in his hand, which creates a new post presence to back up Tillman.

If they can defeat the Blue Devils from Durham, it’s still going to be rough getting to the national championship for Michigan State. They’ll have to potentially go through Gonzaga or North Carolina, which are two quality opponents with one hall of fame coach and a potential hall of famer.

This group has the most quadrant one wins in Division I college basketball. They have proved time and time again they can defeat top competition, and this tournament can and will test that.

Can the Spartans do it? Can they overcome the doubts they have created? Can they win the whole thing? We’ll find out starting today against Bradley at 2:45 p.m. on CBS.