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TOC Staff Picks: MSU vs. Minnesota

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Will the Spartans advance to the Sweet 16? See what our writers think.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Bradley vs Michigan State Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

After a grind against Bradley, the Spartans have advanced in the NCAA Tournament to take on Minnesota. The Spartans downed the Golden Gophers 79-55 earlier this season, but the Gophers are playing solid basketball right now. Who will win? See what our writers think.

Ryan O’Bleness

Michigan State 81, Minnesota 70

Michigan State was tested by a Bradley team that had nothing to lose, but I think MSU will play better overall against Minnesota. The Gophers are a familiar opponent, and though they are a much better team now than they were when the Spartans beat them by 24 on Feb. 9, I think MSU still matches up well and is the superior team. Minnesota played inspired basketball against Louisville and could be getting hot at the right time, but I just have a hard team seeing them pull off the upset. My fear, though, is that the injuries and fatigue have finally caught up to the Spartans. The depth is depleted. With all due respect to my main man, Conner George, I’m really hoping his services won’t be needed and the regular rotation remains intact. Go Green!

Matt Hoeppner

MSU 73, Minnesota 64

This team is getting to the second weekend if it kills them, and I just don’t see anyway that they can lose this game. Quick turnaround favors MSU in the coaching department, and it’s just not a great matchup for Minnesota. The Spartans shut down Coffey and Murphy last time around, and I expect the same game plan this time. Spartans win and advance to the sweet sixteen and we all gear up for next weekend in Washington.

David Harns

MSU 77, Minnesota 66

The NCAA Tournament is about matchups and Michigan State should match up better with a “conventional team” in Minnesota on Saturday - a team that has a couple bigs. The Spartans should be able to stay away from the “bizarre lineups” and feature more Nick Ward. If Kenny Goins finds his shooting touch again, this game won’t be close.

Matt Sheehan

MSU 72, Minnesota 65

The Spartans we saw on Thursday were a team that felt the pressure of once again losing to a 15 seed, and it showed. Now MSU gets a conference team they beat by roughly 1,000 points this year in the second round. I think that’ll give them some comfort. I truly think Kenny Goins has a comeback game on offense (and let’s not discount his great defense on Thursday despite a rough game shooting the ball) and the post game gets clicking early. Also, when is it too early to start drinking?

Samuel Tyler

MSU 82, Minnesota 75

Rip-roaring up and down game. Coffey and Kaluscher play great, but Winston closes it out. Izzo not pleased with the defense, but proud of a gutty team advancing to play another B1G team in Maryland in the sweet 16... the longest conference season ever. Just. Won’t. End.

Zach Manning

MSU 78, Minnesota 73

Minnesota is playing well right now, and the Spartans are coming off of a tough game against Bradley. However, MSU has more talent and the best player in the game, so I think that’ll be enough to pull out a win. Kenny Goins will play a big role in the win, knocking down a few key shots throughout the game.

Kyle Thele

MSU 74, Minnesota 60

This is not good for any MSU fan’s health. After a lackluster performance in the first round, the Spartans have to play a red-hot Minnesota team, all with the thought of not reaching the second weekend for the fourth straight year. But with that being said, the Spartans get the job done and advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Playing someone they are familiar with will actually help the turnaround process and give everyone a chance to rest their legs a little more. Added cherry on top, Aaron Henry hits a three and a highlight dunk.