Michigan, Michigan State begin NCAA Tournament run Thursday: What to know

Spartans, Wolverines play first round games Thursday in Iowa

Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo (left) and Michigan basketball coach John Beilein (right).
Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo (left) and Michigan basketball coach John Beilein (right).

Michigan and Michigan State will kick off their NCAA Tournament runs on Thursday with first round matchups against No. 15 seeds.

No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 15 Bradley in NCAA Tournament

  • Tipoff time: 2:45 p.m. ET
  • TV info: CBS
  • Streaming: or CBS Sports App
  • Where: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Odds: Michigan State Spartans -18.5

The Spartans, who open NCAA Tournament play on Thursday against No. 15 Bradley (20-14), won a share of the Big Ten title and followed that up by winning the league tournament, besting rival Michigan 65-60 in the championship game. Michigan State has one of the best point guards in the country in Big Ten Player of the Year Cassius Winston, and he’s surrounded by a strong supporting cast of veterans like Nick Ward, Matt McQuaid and Kenny Goins.

No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 15 Montana in NCAA Tournament 

  • Tipoff time: 9:20 p.m. ET
  • TV info: TNT
  • Streaming: or TNT streaming app
  • Where: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Line: Michigan -15.5

After a heartbreaking third loss to rival Michigan State on Sunday in the Big Ten championship game, the Wolverines have to be elated with their draw. Other than facing the unusual situation of playing the same first opponent as last year (the Wolverines routed Montana), Michigan has an opportunity to get back to the Final Four. Even though it was the worst of the No. 2 seeds, it was placed in a region with Gonzaga, not No. 1 overall seed Duke. Florida or Nevada aren’t opponents to fear in a second round game, and No. 3 seed Texas Tech is a beatable opponent in a potential regional semifinal matchup. Playing opponents not so familiar with their tendencies should be a boon for Michigan’s struggling offense.

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