Michigan State lost to Middle Tennessee State in the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Let that sink in. The No. 2 seed in the East Region fell to the No. 15 seed 90-81, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say you weren’t among the select few who actually picked that upset.
The Spartans were 17.5-point favorites, matching another #2 seed (Iowa State), choking against Hampton in 2001.
Numbers are coming in rapidly, but just 2.2 percent of roughly 13 million participants in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge had the Spartans losing in the first round. The numbers get even more ridiculous as you move along. Michigan State was picked by 91.1 percent of players to win in the second round, 80.9 percent to win in the Sweet 16 and 61.8 percent advance past the Elite Eight. A whopping 38.6 percent of players had the Spartans playing for the national championship and 22.3 percent had them winning the whole thing. Kansas (25.0 percent) is the only team picked by more people as champions.
In Bleacher Report’s bracket challenge, less than one percent of players picked Middle Tennessee State to top Michigan State.
With Tom Izzo, potential National Player of the Year Denzel Valentine, and a loaded roster, it is absolutely insane that the Spartans went down to the Blue Raiders on Friday. While the nation’s brackets are mostly busted now, this kind of thing is exactly what we love about the NCAA Tournament.
Tom Izzo had never lost a 1st round tournament game in his career (now 7-1). So goodbye Tom Izzo. You had a nice career, Denzel Valentine.
And now everyone waits for Sunday’s matchup of Syracuse and Middle Tennessee State. The winner will play Gonzaga or Utah in the Sweet 16 on Friday.