Michigan St, Izzo in new spot as First Four participants
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo talks to team members during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan, Sunday, March 7, 2021, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)INDIANAPOLIS – Michigan State and coach Tom Izzo are in an unfamiliar position. Last time there was an NCAA Tournament, the Spartans reached the Final Four in 2019 -- the most recent of eight trips under Izzo. Izzo contracted COVID-19 early in the season, yet the Spartans opened with six straight wins. “One thing about coach Izzo -- the reason he has survived so long and he’s had such a great career is that they’re never easily defeated. MOUNT ST. MARY'S vs TEXAS SOUTHERNMount St. Mary’s (12-10) won the automatic berth out of the Northeast Conference.
Shockers solidifying shaky spot in NCAA Tournament field
It was their eighth victory this season by five points or fewer, and their highest-ranked victim at home since beating No. Suddenly, a program that began the season in turmoil is on the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble. At one point the Ducks had six of seven games postponed by COVID-19, and that streak ended with an ugly loss to Washington State. But they followed with five straight wins, including one over fellow bubble-dweller Colorado, heading into an important game against No. That makes their game against Oregon on Thursday night crucial for helping out a shaky resume.