For the better part of the last 20 years, there was one steadfast rule of the NCAA Tournament respected around the country — don’t discount Tom Izzo’s Michigan State squad. Sure, there were upsets and teams that fell flat, but fans filling out brackets learned to overlook the Spartans at their own peril.
That seems, however, to have come to an end.
According to the most recent SB Nation Reacts survey, only 23 percent of fans around the country think MSU will reach the second weekend of the tournament. Of course, that can at least partially be explained this year by a tough first-round draw against Davidson with Duke likely looming in the Round of 32. That Duke squad is the favorite among fans to advance to the Sweet 16.
The Spartans did earn the next biggest percentage of the vote. But an even smaller percentage of fans around the country think Michigan State can do anything beyond that. Despite a growing history of higher seeds making deep runs, fans don’t expect a Cinderella team in the Final Four this year.
While a difficult first matchup already has Spartans fans feeling uneasy, it’s multiplied when compared to the seemingly easier landing spot for the Michigan Wolverines.
Despite having an 11-seed, Michigan is playing a non-power conference opponent in Colorado State in the Round of 64 and that game is played in Indianapolis. Fortunately for the minds of Michigan State fans, only 12 percent of fans think U of M will make the second weekend.
On top of that, more fans believe Michigan doesn’t even deserve to be in the field than any other at-large team.