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Selection Sunday 2011: Michigan State To Play UCLA In NCAA Basketball Tournament

For the past 13 years, every Selection Sunday for the Michigan State basketball program has been a time to celebrate yet another successful regular season. The Spartans are used to gearing up for another run to the Final Four come Selection Sunday, just as the last two years show.

This year, things went a bit differently for Michigan State. When the Spartans lost six of eight games from mid-January to mid-February, their NCAA basketball tournament streak appeared to be in serious jeopardy. A decent finish kept them in consideration, but work needed to be done in Indianapolis at the 2011 Big Ten tournament.

In Indy, Michigan State escaped a close game against Iowa. Most believed that the Spartans were in the field after that victory, but they needed an exclamation point on their resume. A day later, on Friday, that exclamation point became a beatdown of Purdue, the second seed in the tournament. The Spartans rolled the Boilermakers, and although they lost to Penn State on Saturday, it was enough to put Michigan State back in the NCAA basketball tournament for the 14th straight year.

Michigan State's opponent in the 2011 NCAA basketball tournament will be UCLA. The Spartans are a No. 10 seed in the NCAA tournament bracket, meaning UCLA is a No. 7 seed. The two teams will meet on Thursday, March 17. The game will be held in Tampa, Florida .

The winner of the Michigan State/UCLA game will advance on to play either Florida or UCSB.