The No. 9 seeded Michigan State will travel to South Bend, Indiana to face the eighth seed Central Michigan Saturday, March 23. The Spartans found out about their bid in an interesting way after ESPN accidentally leaked the bracket on TV.
“It’s just an interesting situation for sure,” coach Suzy Merchant said after the NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament bracket was leaked. “I’m not sure how it happened or what happened.”
In a statement from ESPN, “In working with the NCAA to prepare for tonight’s Women’s Selection Special we received the bracket, similar to years past. In the midst of our preparation, the bracket was mistakenly posted on ESPNU. We deeply regret the error and extend our apology to the NCAA and the women’s basketball community. We will conduct a thorough review of our process to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future."
Merchant will be facing her alma matter in the first round of the tournament.
“Well I’m competitive against everybody we play. I don’t know if it’s higher.” Merchant said. “I think that biggest thing is preparing your team and making sure and doing what you need to and I’m sure they’re going to do the same.”
The Spartans have several notable wins on this year's resume, but displayed fatigue in the second half throughout some of this season’s tough losses.
“I feel like we’re the underdogs,” senior center Jenna Allen said about the team’s mentality going into the tournament. “I feel right now that we’ve proven that we could beat a lot of good teams in the nation, but we’ve had an up and down year.”
The Spartans will tip off in South Bend at 1 p.m. If they win, they will most likely face Notre Dame in the second round, an opponent they played in the pre-season.
“I’m just really excited to see what we can do in the NCAA tournament.” Allen said.