NCAA Tournament Predictions: Miami vs. Michigan State

With the tournament underway, it's up to the Gophers to prove that they're ready once again for the NCAA tournament and it's up to the Badgers to prove that they finally are.

Oklahoma State fought to the wire on Friday, but MI used a barrage of second half threes to keep the Cowboys at bay and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, 92-91.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Paul George made six 3-pointers and finished with 39 points to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 98-77 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.

"You just have to enjoy it", Forte said.

MI advances to Sunday in Indianapolis to meet the victor between Louisville and Jacksonville State, likely the ACC powerhouse Cardinals. I thought the first half, we were very good at defending the 3-point line, trying to keep them in front of us.

Oklahoma State trailed 41-40 at the break but opened the second half with a 12-5 run forcing John Beilein to call timeout. Jalen Rose scored 25 points and corralled 11 rebounds for the Wolverines.

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Evans can still choose to enter the draft, test the waters and then make a final decision. After the game, Evans told the Oklahoman's Berry Tramel that he would most likely be back next season.

Conference: Big 12. Bid: At large. Any other draw in the NCAA Tournament and OSU might have been a Sweet 16 squad. Aside from that, the Big 12 ended up being just about the status quo.

Possibly the third-hottest team in the NCAA ran into the first and second in that category. We were young and even though Taya (Reimer) is a transfer and eligibility-wise has some years, she is still new to the system and players that she hasn't played with so really Branndais (Agee) and Tori are the only two kids that have played significant minutes. Back in October before the season, it seemed impossible. Best case scenario for them is a game in the 50's. I don't either. In tournament play, I tend to go with the team with better guard play.

Pedrie made it 4-0 1:03 into the second period, firing a rocket off a faceoff. But the bench has done little in the Cowboys' recent three-game losing streak, which might signal a key for U-M.

With not enough time to pull off a miracle, Oklahoma State inbounded the ball and fired up a quick meaningless 3-pointer. In 2016-17, the Big Ten wasn't what has been the past few seasons. On the Cowboys' warm-up sleeves Friday, the moniker "Everyday guys" stood out.

The headlining matchup of the day was Walton vs. Oklahoma State's Jawun Evans, and it didn't disappoint.

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A year ago, with mostly the same roster - sans Forte due to an elbow injury - OSU was bad. The Hurricanes go as their backcourt goes and it's a good one. There were some dark days. Cornell's Gabe Dean is 30-0 and looking for his third national title, while Iowa's Thomas Gilman (125 pounds) will look to cap a ideal season and avenge a loss in the finals a year ago. If winning against the conference's best doesn't help a team like MI, logic would dictate that taking an automatic L wouldn't hurt them. The Wolverines were lights out from three-point range, and were able to ice the game late with free throws despite the Cowboys best efforts at hanging around.

Great shooting can mask a lot. Davon Dillard was the fifth man in double figures with 12. He was a player who nearly left the team, and he scored 12 points in Friday's loss.

Now, Michigan knows how to roll with the punches - and it was fully on display against the Cowboys Friday afternoon.

This was only year one.

Michigan State had its share of growing pains as it relies on a quartet of freshmen, led by high-flying forward Miles Bridges, the team's leading scorer (16.7 points) and rebounder (8.3 rebounds).

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