Day & Time: Sunday, March 18, 2018, 2:40 p.m. ET
Location: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Mich.
Line: Michigan State, -8.5
TV/Streaming: CBS/March Madness Live
Announcers: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce (this group has worked so far)
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
Michigan State blog: The Only Colors
Rivalry: 10-7, Syracuse
Current Streak: 4, Orange
First Meeting: Long-time MSU coach Benjamin Van Alstyne brought a reasonable successful team up to SU in 1929, but fell 24-17 in the contest. Ev Katz scored 13 points to lead Syracuse on the day. Based on how the NCAA Tournament has gone thus far, that might be the final score of Sunday’s game too.
Last Meeting: The Jimmy V Classic got a top-10 matchup at Madison Square Garden early in the 2010 season. However, it was the No. 8 Orange that would come out on top, 72-58. Syracuse stymied MSU in the first half, while the offense paced the proceedings. That trend continued en route to the big win and a 9-0 start for SU. Three Orange players scored in double figures during the game, including Scoop Jardine, who led all scorers with 19.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (42nd year, 1,026-370); Michigan State: Tom Izzo (23rd year, 572-224)
Coach Bio: Izzo played at Northern Michigan, then went into coaching at the high school level. He was back at his alma mater just two years later, then spent 12 years (1983-95) as an assistant for the Spartans. In his first two seasons, MSU was NIT-bound, but they’ve made the NCAA Tournament field in every year since. Under his guidance, Michigan State won the 2000 national title, made seven Final Fours, and five Big Ten Tournaments. He’s also been part of an ongoing scandal at the school.
Last Year: Michigan State came into the season ranked No. 12, but were out of the top 25 by the end of November after a 4-4 start. In Big Ten play, they went 10-8 and beat Wisconsin and Minnesota, which was enough to get them an at-large bid. MSU lost by 20 to Kansas in the second round of the NCAAs after an opening win over Miami.
Last Game: State outlasted upset-minded Bucknell, 82-78. The Spartans led by just four at the half, and some hot shooting by the Bison in the waning minutes kept the advantage there in the final score. In reality, MSU did manage to pull away in this one by the mid-way point of the second half. Izzo’s team shot 53.4 percent from the floor, and out-rebounded Bucknell by 12.
”Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: It’s Miles Bridges. The All-Big Ten guard averages 17.3 points per game, while collecting seven rebounds and dishing out nearly three assists per contest. He’s an excellent free throw shooter, and can take over a game as needed. The sophomore had 29 points against Bucknell in the second round — his second-highest output of the season, and fourth time scoring 25 or more this year.
Jack Ferguson Memorial Random Three-Point Performance: Lourawls Nairn Jr. seems to fit the bill. The senior has played limited minutes this year and only scored 1.8 points per game. However, he’s seen consistent action and is 5-of-16 from outside. At 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, he’s exactly the sort of player we’d usually slot into this spot.
If Syracuse Wins: The Apology Train is careening down the tracks at an alarming rate of speed. SU would also, entertainingly, beat the same Michigan State team that we “got lucky” avoiding back in 2016. Still, despite beating three Power Five teams to make another unlikely Sweet 16 run, pundits would talk about how we didn’t deserve any of this.
If Syracuse Loses: It was a good run, but it probably had to end at some point. Facing a top-15 team with a short bench and playing their third game in five days all sounds like a recipe for disaster going in. So it wouldn’t necessarily be a surprise.
Fun Fact No. 1: Syracuse has faced Michigan State the third-most times of any major conference team they’ve never shared a conference with. The only programs with more meetings: Penn State (105) and Temple (30).
Fun Fact No. 2: Izzo’s Michigan State teams have failed to win 20 games five different times during his tenure. Boeheim has done so just four times despite being at Syracuse 19 more years than Izzo has been at MSU.