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NCAA Tournament Round of 32 Game Thread: Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Michigan State Spartans

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NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State survived a scare against the upstart Bradley Braves in the Round of 64 and now sets its sights on a familiar foe — Minnesota. Tonight’s game tips off at 7:45 p.m. in Des Moines and is broadcast on CBS.

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Michigan State ended up winning its first round game by a score of 76-65, but it was a very close and competitive throughout, which caused nightmare flashbacks to 2016 when MSU lost to 15-seed Middle Tennessee State. But the Spartans showed resiliency and walked away with a double-digit victory. Cassius Winston put up 26 points, while Xavier Tillman scored 16 and grabbed 11 boards.

Minnesota beat Louisville 86-76 in the first game of to tip-off in the tournament. The Gophers played good basketball and really controlled the whole contest. Every Minnesota point was scored by its five starters. Each starter had at least 13 points, while Gabe Kalscheur lead the way with 24 points. Amir Coffey and Jordan Murphy scored 18 points each.

Minnesota is hot at the right time, but I still think this matchup really favors the Spartans. Not only is Minnesota a more conventional team than Bradley, but Tom Izzo and the coaching staff is very familiar with how to beat them — evidenced by the Spartans’ 24-point drubbing over the Gophers in February. Coffey and Murphy were held in check in that game, and I believe MSU will limit their impact again. With that said, though, Minnesota is a much improved team now, and I think they are going to put up a fight. However, I think the Spartans end up walking away with another double-digit victory after a closely contested 35 minutes or so.

Also, the Michigan State women’s team beat Central Michigan on a go-ahead bucket by guard Shay Colley with just seconds left earlier today. They won 87-86 and now have a very tough test against Notre Dame to follow.

The winner of the Minnesota/Michigan State contest advances on to the Sweet 16 in Washington D.C. and will face LSU. The Tigers narrowly defeated Maryland 69-67 earlier today.

GO GREEN!

Catch up on all TOC contest since the first round game went final: