Spartans Match up with Cavaliers in Sweet Sixteen

Madison Square Garden will be rocking Friday night when two of college basketball’s hottest teams face off for a bid to the Elite Eight.

No. 1 Virginia cruised through their first two games of the tournament, beating No. 16 Coastal Carolina and No. 8 Memphis by a combined 29 points. The Cavaliers earned the No. 1 seed by beating Duke in the ACC Tournament and have one of the best defenses in the nation.

The Cavaliers are led by sophomore guard Malcolm Brogdon, who averages 12.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Senior Joe Harris is the team’s best shooter, but has taken a backseat role this year to Brogdon. Harris is averaging just under 12 points per game, but shoots over 40 percent from beyond the arc.

MSU survived a Crimson scare from Harvard to reach the Sweet Sixteen and face their toughest opponent of the tournament.

If the Spartans want to advance, they need Keith Appling to step up and start scoring. The senior has been held to just six points in his last two games and has only taken six shots. MSU cannot expect Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson to consistently shoulder the scoring load.

This Sweet Sixteen matchup will be a battle of defenses, and the first team to 60 will win.

Tip is set at 9:57 p.m. and can be seen on TBS.

Blake Froling is the co-host of Impact Izzone for Impact Sports.

Photo: David Defever/Impact Sports