If you’re seeking compelling storylines, Michigan State’s opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament has plenty to offer. The tournament began on Sunday night, with the Spartans being seeded seventh in the West Region and facing No. 10 Davidson in the first round on Friday in Greenville, South Carolina.
Michigan State has now qualified for the NCAA Tournament for 24 consecutive years. The second-longest active streak after Kansas and the third-longest overall behind Kansas and North Carolina. It is also coach Tom Izzo’s 24th consecutive tournament, tying him with Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski for the longest active record among coaches.
If that isn’t enough, if Michigan State wins its first game, it will almost certainly meet No. 2 Duke in the second round, giving Izzo and the Spartans a chance to send Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski out with a loss before he retires at the conclusion of the season. But none of that was on the minds of most people on Sunday night.
Instead, it was the fact that Davidson’s greatest scorer is a Clarkston native and former Mr. Basketball in Michigan, Foster Loyer, who moved out of Michigan State after three seasons with the Spartans last summer.
MSU and Duke would meet for the 16th time in Izzo’s career if the higher seeds win, with Izzo going 3-12 versus Krzyzewski. The Spartans defeated a formidable Blue Devils squad headed by Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett in the Elite Eight of the 2019 NCAA tournament, and Kenny Goins’ 3-pointer helped the Spartans advance to the final. The Final Four has arrived.
The Spartans were given a No. 7 seed in the West region and will play No. 10 seed, Davidson, in the NCAA tournament opening round. The winner will play either No. 2 seed Duke or No. 15 seed Cal State Fullerton in the NCAA tournament.
MSU has qualified for the NCAA tournament for the twenty-fourth time in a row. Extending the second-longest active streak in Division I and tying Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski for the most straight tournament appearances by a coach at a school. Last season, the Blue Devils failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 1995. Krzyzewski also announced his retirement following this season.