(Photo: Reuters/Brent Smith)
Michigan State vs Valparaiso will take place in the NCAA 2013 tournament on Thursday. The men's basketball second round of games in the March Madness bonanza begins with this game at 11.15 a.m. CT and all the action can be watched online through free live stream (details below).
Michigan State Spartans and Tom Izzo will be getting the second round of games underway on Thursday, facing off against Valparaiso at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
The Spartans come into the tournament as third seeds, but are also coming off a hugely disappointing loss to Ohio State where they lost by just a three point margin, 61-58. That result came in the semi final of the Big Ten tournament where Derrick Nix featured by scoring 17 points and nine rebounds. Keith Appling also weighed in with 16 points. However, the Spartans will feel the game was lost via the 12 turnovers they allowed.
Some analysts believe this could be the Spartan's year, with Izzo being the difference. He has six Final Four appearances over his 18 seasons and some believe that experience will be a huge factor when the crunch games come.
Meanwhile the Crusaders are making their first appearance since 2004. That year they were seeded 15th and went out at the hands of Gonzaga. This year Valparaiso is seeded one better at 14th and has a squad packed with seniors such as 6'7" forward Ryan Broekhoff and 6'8" Kevin Van Wijk.
Eleven of the Crusaders 12 roster spots also have been handed to upperclassmen, and five seniors start.
In comparison, the Spartans have just one senior, Nix, listed on their roster. Only time will tell whether that will make a difference in today's game.
Valparaiso come into this game after a nine day break since their last game, in which they had a 62-54 result. Guard Erik Bugg's featured with a game high 22 points and four steals, where as Van Wijk got a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The winner of today's game will advance to the third round of the Midwest region, and will face off against the winner of No. 6 Memphis and No. 11 St Mary's.
Michigan State vs Valparaiso tips off at 12.15 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on CBS. It can also be watched online through free live stream by clicking here.