After finishing the regular season with a 22-7 record, the No. 16-ranked MSU basketball team left Indianapolis as Big Ten Tournament runner-ups to Maryland after losing 64-40 in the championship game on March 6. Now the Spartans are looking forward to the NCAA Tournament.
On Monday evening the NCAA selection committee released the final seeding for the NCAA Tournament which begins on March 18. The Spartans are selected as a No. 4 seed and will play No. 13-seeded Belmont in the first round in Starkville, Mississippi.
Normally, the higher seed in the first two rounds has the advantage of playing on their home floor. Due to the Girls MHSAA Basketball Tournament finals, the Spartans will not be playing at their home court in Breslin Center, having to play at No. 5 seed Mississippi State's home gym.
The Belmont University Bruins finished 24-8 overall this season, being the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament champions. The Bruins are coached by Cameron Newbauer, who's been at the helm of the Bruins since the end of the 2013 season. The Bruins are led on the court by redshirt sophomore forward Kylee Smith. Smith is averaging 13.7 points per game this season while shooting 38.8 percent from the field.
The Bruins will have to get past junior guard Aerial Powers and the Spartans who are averaging 77.1 points per game. In 30 games this season Powers is averaging 21.9 points per game and shooting 44.3 percent from the floor.
Other seeds in the Bridgeport region include the No. 1 overall seed Connecticut Huskies, as well as No. 2 seeded Texas and No. 3 seeded UCLA.
The Spartans will begin play against Belmont on March 18. Tip off is set for noon.
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