Andy’s Bracket

Andy Song, Staff Reporter

Final Four: Michigan State, Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia.

Winner: Michigan State

Michigan State Spartans: Michigan State, while not a number No. 1 seed this season, is one of the deepest and most talented teams in the country. They finished a 29-5 season on a roll, winning 13 out of their last 14 games and capping it all off with a Big Ten championship. The Spartans have one of the most experienced coaches in Tom Izzo, who has lead them to a seven final four appearances since 1999 (highest out of all current coaches), and their team looks as solid as ever. Denzel Valentine is one of the best players in the NCAA, as he averages nearly 20 points, eights assists, and eight rebounds per game. He is the superstar type of player that can thrive in the tight nature of the majority of March Madness games, as he has the ability to knock down a clutch shot or take any player one-on-one. Supporting Valentine are another great pair of players in seniors Bryn Forbes and Matt Costello, who have been providing solid scoring and leadership all season long, with the two averaging 14 and 10 points respectively. The deadly combination of Valentine and Forbes, the latter of which having the second-best three-point percentage in the nation, gives the Spartans one of the nation’s deepest backcourts that any team will have a difficult time competing with. In terms of competition, the Spartans are in the Midwest region, where there toughest opponents will be No.1 seeded Virginia and No. 3 seeded Utah. Michigan State has defeated Virginia in each of the last two years, and while Utah may provide a challenge, Michigan has the depth and ability to advance to the final four. Meanwhile, other potential challengers such as No. 6 Seton Hall and No. 4 Iowa State are in risk to upset by No. 11 Gonzaga. Even if their seeding doesn’t show it, the Bulldogs have been one of the most talented teams this season, with Senior Kyle Wiltjer averaging 20.7 points and 6.3 rebounds, and center Domantas Sabonis contributing 17.4 points and 11.6 rebounds per game. And if you aren’t convinced, the only other two times Michigan State was a No. 2 seed was in 1979 and 2009, two of the years in which the Spartans made the championship. The Spartans have always been one of the strongest competitors in March, and with the team looking like one of the deepest and most talented squads in program history, expect Michigan State to be the ones cutting the net down this year.