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March 12, 2011

Welcome to the semis

After one of the most complete performances MSU has delivered in a while -- delivered by Kalin Lucas and several others, including a certain junior forward -- the Spartans are in the NCAA Tournament. Mr. Lunardi has them up to up to an 8-9 game, so does that mean a 7 is possible?

    I think it would be more possible if Wisconsin were today's opponent instead of Penn State. A win over the Badgers is the kind that can jump a team a spot. I'm not so sure a win over Penn State will do the same -- and again, it's rare that the Big Ten Tournament finalists aren't already slotted by the time they take the floor for Sunday's game.

    That's why I propose that a loss today wouldn't be a bad thing at all for MSU. It would allow an extra day of rest and it might leave MSU in the 10-11 range. To me, it's better to be a 10 or 11 and be looking at a 2 or a 3 if you advance to the second round (it's called the third round now, but I will NEVER call it the third round). At 8-9, you're looking at a 1 seed in the first weekend. The 1 seeds aren't as  imposing this season as in some years, but still ...

    As for Penn State, it looks like the Nittany Lions are right on that bubble after upsetting the Badgers in a game I had the misfortune of watching from up close. To me, that means Penn State has to win today, probably gets in with a win today, and frankly has more to play for than MSU -- although I believe the Spartans when they say they're thinking about winning this tournament and nothing else.

    Penn State is defending very well right now and managing to win despite Talor Battle's cold shooting. If he doesn't warm up some, I like the Spartans today. The key matchup to me is Mr. Roe checking Jeff Brooks.

    It should be a great pair of games today, and we might just get that MSU-Michigan final. And just think, you can sit back and enjoy the games and not worry about what Richmond or Memphis or Virginia Tech is doing.

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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter
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