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Preview: #8 Miami vs #9 Michigan St.

The ‘Canes make their 3rd trip to the NCAA Tournament under Coach Larranaga

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Tulsa Practice Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Larranaga has made it to the second weekend in both of his previous trips to the tournament with Miami.

But now he faces a Michigan State team in the first round that is making its 20th consecutive trip to the “Big Dance”. Tom Izzo's Spartan teams are about as successful as any program in March since 2000.

But they haven’t had a typical Michigan State season.

Sparty started the year at #12 in the country but lost their first two games. After an up-and-down season they finished the season tied for 5th in a mediocre year for the Big Ten.

Both teams enter tonight having dropped three of their last four games.

But the ‘Canes should expect to win, they’ve been the better and more consistent team throughout the entire season.

Coach L has put in possibly his bench coaching job since coming to UM. The ‘Canes entered the season with a young and shallow roster, playing with one senior and having 7-8 players touch the court in most games.

Miami will rely on the senior leadership of Davon Reed in this one and hopefully the role players will show up. If Dejan Vasiljevic and Anthony Lawrence Jr. can get some threes to fall and Bruce Brown can play to his potential, I expect the Canes to win this by double-digits.

The only issue is Miles Bridges.

The Spartan freshman is a projected lottery-pick in the next NBA draft and can take over games. He is a freak on the glass, can get to the rim, shoots a high percentage and can drain shots from beyond-the-arc.

If he gets going we could be in store for a battle.

But Coach L and Davon Reed won’t let this team get bounced in the first round

Miami 67 Michigan State 57