Men's College Basketball
Syracuse vs Michigan St
When: 2:40 PM ET, Sunday, March 18, 2018
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan

Michigan State looks to advance to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three seasons when it takes on surprising Syracuse in a Midwest Region second-round contest Sunday in Detroit. The third-seeded Spartans advanced with a victory over Bucknell on Friday, while the 11th-seeded Orange got past TCU in their first-round game.

Sophomore guard Tyus Battle leads Syracuse's offensive attack with an average of 19.7 points, while Oshae Brissett and Frank Howard each chip in 14.9 per contest. But the story of the Orange is coach Jim Boeheim's matchup zone defense that causes teams lots of trouble and will be a big test for a Michigan State team that has struggled with zones this season. Miles Bridges (17.3 points) is a versatile offensive force for the Spartans, as he has made 68 3-pointers but also is capable of getting to the hoop and finishing at the rim. The key for Michigan State will be the play of point guard Cassius Winston (12.6 points, 51.4 3-point percentage, 6.9 assists), who must handle the zone and the size of Syracuse's defenders when they extend to apply pressure on the ball.

TV: 2:40 p.m. ET, CBS

ABOUT SYRACUSE (22-13): Freshman forward Marek Dolezaj scored in double figures just twice in 14 games prior to the Orange's first-round contest against TCU, but the Slovakian recorded a team-high 17 points to give the team an offensive boost. Boeheim would love to see a repeat performance versus Michigan State because as good as Syracuse's defense is, it will need to score points against a very tough defensive squad. With Battle finishing with fewer than 10 points for just the second time this season, Dolezaj's production was much-needed, and it will be for as long as the Orange stay alive in the Tournament.

ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (30-4): Since the Spartans' first loss of the season to Duke in November, the question of whether or not Bridges is aggressive enough offensively in big games has been there for coach Tom Izzo. The sophomore has tried to find balance in his offensive game, with Michigan State's deep rotation allowing him not to have to dominate the ball, but against Bucknell, it was Bridges who closed the door by scoring 14 of his 29 points during a nine-minute spurt in the second half that pushed the Spartans' lead from six to 14. Bridges will have to work on that balance again versus the Orange, whose zone doesn't have much room against which to drive but also doesn't give many open looks from the perimeter.


1. Syracuse held TCU 31 points below its season average of 83 per game.

2. Winston recorded his fifth double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 assists against Bucknell.

3. The winner of this contest will advance to face either Duke or Rhode Island in the regional semifinals in Omaha, Neb. on Friday.

PREDICTION: Michigan State 79, Syracuse 64
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Neutral Day Night Conf
Syracuse 22-13 W2 14-5 4-6 4-2 6-4 16-9 9-11
Michigan St 30-4 W1 16-1 8-1 6-2 10-3 20-1 17-3
Last Meeting
Syracuse Michigan St
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
12/7/10 MSU 58 SYR 72 72 31 44.4 58 26 38.9
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Syracuse S. Jardine 19 77.8 4
Michigan St D. Summers 18 46.7 0
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Syracuse R. Jackson 16 6 10
Michigan St D. Green 11 2 9
Assists Player  
Syracuse B. Triche 4
Michigan St D. Green 5
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Syracuse T. Battle 676 40.1 157
Michigan St M. Bridges 571 46.7 93
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Syracuse O. Brissett 311 76 235
Michigan St N. Ward 244 91 153
Assists Player  
Syracuse F. Howard 169
Michigan St C. Winston 235
Quickchart Matchup
blue bar Syracuse Off vs  red bar Michigan St Defense
blue bar 67.0 Points For
red bar 65.2 Points Against
blue bar 41.6 FG%
red bar 36.7 FG%
blue bar 33.7 Reb
red bar 27.2 Reb
red bar Michigan St Off vs  blue bar Syracuse Defense
red bar 81.0 Points For
blue bar 63.9 Points Against
red bar 50.5 FG%
blue bar 39.6 FG%
red bar 38.5 Reb
blue bar 29.1 Reb