No matter what happens during the regular season, the Michigan State Spartans are always a team to watch in the NCAA tournament. Tom Izzo's team is always ready to compete when March Madness comes around and this year will likely be no different. The Spartans overcame a rough stretch of games in the month of January to earn the No. 7 seed in the tournament where they will face off against Georgia who comes in as a No. 10 seed out of the SEC.
Michigan State is known for its long runs in the tournament and this year could be much of the same despite almost missing the tournament back at the start of conference play. The team fell to Nebraska in early January which led many to believe the Spartans would be sitting out March Madness, but they finished with a 13-7 run that got them back into contention while reaching the Big Ten tournament final.
Michigan State certainly has history in their favor. The team has won at least one NCAA game for the past eight seasons in the tournament. Last year they made it to the Elite Eight and are hoping for more success in 2015. This year Travis Trice will lead Michigan State against Georgia averaging 14.8 points a game. He finished on a run averaging 20.4 points over the final eight games while getting just six against Wisconsin. Michigan State will also rely on rebounding to help against Georgia. The team ranks 17th nationally and has been outrebounded just five times all season.
This is Georgia's first time in the tournament since 2011. The Bulldogs showed promised during the season, being one of the only teams to test Kentucky during the regular season. Georgia then fell in the SEC tournament, missing their shot at a potential rematch. The Bulldogs are at risk of being without leading scorer Kenny Gaines who sprained his foot in practice during the regular season and re-aggravated it during the SEC Conference Tournament. He has been averaging 11.6 points per game and the team expects him to play.
With Gaines' status unknown, Georgia's defense will have to step up. The unit ranks 17th national and has been holding opponents to just 38.7 percent shooting. The Bulldogs hope to remain that strong against the Spartans.