The Spartans started three freshmen against Miami with a fourth, guard Cassius Winston, playing extended minutes.
Regardless of how Izzo feels about it, Michigan State's reputation as a giant killer in the postseason has been well earned over the years.
How the Spartans, with four freshmen poised to make their national tourney debuts, would perform was anybody's guess - and not a very educated one at that.
Mason enters the game averaging 20.8 points per game with 171 assists to 83 turnovers. The 78-58 game brings more questions than answers. Aided by a Muhammad-Ali Abdur Rahkman four-point play, the Wolverines would eventually seize control of the game once again.
They aren't finished yet after making 16 3-pointers - including 11 of 15 in the second half - to outpace the 10th-seeded Cowboys (20-13).
After two days of mild results, madness returned to the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.
"My husband is from MI so I am a Spartan fan", says Spartan fan Angela Bell.
Sophomore Vince Pedrie wasted little time in the second period pushing the Penn State lead to 4-0 as he let loose a one-timer from the left point right off the faceoff. "The process was slow, it's never as easy as I want or our fans want, but I did see us getting better".
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He's sparred with the likes of Shawn Porter, Gulliermo Rigondeaux and Amir Imam. "I'm ready, I look forward to it". Wouldn't you be? "I don't know any", he told the Mirror. "Because I don't know what to expect either".
"I just heard it 10 minutes ago, so it shocks me", Self said of the news that Underwood was moving on to IL.
But they passed the test of their character when they refused to panic and unravel, and instead steadily adhered to the principles that allowed them to pull out the win. We've been friends for a long time. "We got 24 hours more experience". Physically, Allen isn't that much different than Ward outside of a few more inches.
- Justin Jackson broke out of a shooting slump with 21 points to help top-seeded North Carolina roll past Texas Southern 103-64 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament's South Region. "That first eight minutes was a knockout punch for most teams, and it's been for some of mine in the past. They're a great team, it's a great challenge and we'll be ready for the challenge". Will it be enough? So give me Kentucky to win and advance, if only because that replicates my bracket.
Kansas vs. (9) Michigan State - Kansas hung 100 on 16-seed UC Davis and looked good doing it, but Michigan State had the largest margin of victory in the 8-9 matchup and, spoiler alert: they still have Tom Izzo. The Jayhawks can run with any team in the nation and usually have no problem putting up points.
"You love it when you're going up and down like that", Abdur-Rahkman said. Eleven of their 16 Big 12 wins came by seven points or less, so that seems extremely relevant given the spread.
Rhode Island is, along with Duke and MI, on the short list of hottest teams in the country.
"Miles Bridges and Nick Ward basically made every shot they took, " Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. "And our guys respect that and they know that".