Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 3/17/13
Michigan State will open the NCAA Tournament on Thursday just 82 miles down the road from East Lansing, playing Horizon Conference tournament champion Valparaiso (26-7) at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Spartans, who tied for second in the Big Ten regular season and lost in the tournament semi-finals, are a No. 3 seed. If they beat Valpo, next up is the winner of the game between No. 6 seed Memphis and the winner of Middle Tennessee-St. Marys. The Spartans (25-8) could be headed for a Midwest Region Sweet 16 matchup with Duke, which begins play Friday in Philadelphia against Albany. This marks the 16th consecutive NCAA Tournament bid for the Spartans, who last missed The Big Dance in 1997, which was Tom Izzos second season as head coach.
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