NCAA Tournament Preview: #9 Michigan State vs. #1 Kansas

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Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed

All four of these teams can be considered, at least recently, "blue bloods" of women's basketball as they have all had plenty of success both in the regular season and in postseason play.

It's been a season of learning for Head Coach Tom Izzo who frequently admits that if he could change one thing about this season it would be the rigorous non conference schedule that really seemed to take its toll on this young team.

The Wolverines fired in 16 3-pointers, 11 in a scorching second half, pulling away for a 92-91 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Oklahoma State: For the Cowboys, the NCAA Tournament has been problematic.

The University of Wisconsin's women's basketball had a sub-.500 year for the sixth straight season, which means they will not be dancing in the NCAA Tournament nor the NIT Tournament.

Forward Nick Ward scored 19 points to lead Michigan State.

Venue: BOK Center, Tulsa, Okla. They were a step quicker than MI. Zak Irvin and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman each had 16. Zak Irvin followed with another.

Jeffrey Carroll contributed 19 and Forte and Dillard 12, but offense wasn't OSU's problem.

Evans did everything in his power to will the Pokes to victory.

Barford had 12 of his 20 points after halftime for the Razorbacks (26-9), the No. 8 seed in the South Region.

Unless Evans was fouled, there was no way his shot would have given Oklahoma State the win.

Combined, the Hurricanes' Davon Reed, Ja'Quan Newton and Bruce Brown average about 40 points per game and nine assists.

Oklahoma State's Jawun Evans hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer against MI to cover the points spread in Las Vegas.

With Brown hitting his first three shots, the Hurricanes bolted out to a 17-5 lead in the early minutes of the game and appeared comfortable against a Michigan State team that narrowly earned its 20th consecutive tournament appearance. That's when Abdur-Rahkman and Walton Jr. found their stroke from deep again to take the 62-61 lead with 12:28 left. "And then you look at Michigan State and you say, 'Hasn't he been to seven or eight Final Fours?' So I personally didn't feel a ton of comfort or warm feelings by seeing that". And the mojo continued for Michigan State as it opened the second half, when the game turned into a laugher. He made five 3-pointers in a row, finishing 6 of 9 behind the arc, and totaled 26 points and 11 assists. Ultimately, however, Denzel Valentine took over down the stretch, scoring 16 of his 29 points in the final 8:32 and recording a massive 29-12-12 triple-double.

USC also rallied from a big deficit in the second half in its First Four win over Providence. The Cowboys' offensive gameplan revolves around speed and dribble penetration, with guards bull-rushing the basket with abandon. Oklahoma State only turned MI over four times and the Wolverines continue leading the nation in lowest turnovers per game.

And after executing game after game against some of the top Big Ten teams en route to the conference tournament title, MI will face an Oklahoma State team that's similar in size and has only two players taller than 6-foot-8.

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