As a No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region, the Michigan State Spartans will certainly be a team to keep an eye on over the next couple of weeks as the 2013 NCAA Tournament kicked off on Thursday. After a shaky start against the Valparaiso Crusaders, the Spartans quickly took over the game to win their second-round matchup thanks to a strong performance by Derrick Nix.
The Spartans center came up big on Thursday as he recorded 23 points to go along with 15 rebounds as Michigan State went on to win the game 65-54. Nix put up decent numbers throughout the regular season as he averaged 9.5 points to go along with 6.2 rebounds, but Thursday’s game against the Crusaders was arguably his best performance of the season.
If Nix can figure out a way to put up similar performances over the rest of the tournament–there’s no question Michigan State will have an opportunity to make a serious run over the next couple of weeks.
Head coach Tom Izzo has always received praise throughout his career for how well his team performs once March rolls around and all signs point to the Spartans preparing for another run in the big dance. Not many people expected Valparaiso to compete with Michigan State and it was clear they were overmatched in this one when it came to the rebounding department.
Now, the Spartans will wait to see whether they play Memphis or St. Mary’s on Saturday as the team looks to make their fifth appearance in the Sweet 16 over the last six years.
“Like” Dan Parzych on Facebook
Be sure to follow Dan on Twitter @DanParzych