For the 14th year in a row, the Michigan State basketball team is in the NCAA tournament. This year the Spartans begin their March Madness run by taking on the UCLA Bruins at 9:15 p.m. in Tampa, Florida (the start time was moved up by five minutes).
Michigan State enters the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament with a 19-14 record. As a result, MSU is a 10 seed, which is something no one saw coming at the beginning of the year when the Spartans were ranked second in the nation. A stretch of six losses in eight games from January to February left MSU squarely on the bubble come the end of the season, but wins over Iowa and Purdue in the Big Ten tournament were enough to punch a ticket to the dance.
UCLA, the No. 7 seed in the Southeast Region, has a 22-10 record coming into this game. The Bruins went 13-5 in the Pac-10 and had wins over BYU and St. John's in the non-conference portion of their schedule. They did go on a four-game losing streak that started around Thanksgiving, but since then they have played much better en route to securing a single-digit seed.
The winner of the Michigan State-UCLA game will move on to play the No. 2 seed Florida Gators. Florida beat California-Santa Barbara by a score of 79-51 tonight to move on to the third round.
If you are in need of a printable NCAA bracket to fill out for the tournament, make sure to download SB Nation's March Madness Bracket.