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Eighth-seeded Marquette draws Michigan State in first round

Mar 15, 2007 - 2:06 PM Michigan St (22-11) at Marquette (24-9) 7:20 pm EDT

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Two teams from power conferences will square off in a first-round matchup.

Eighth-seeded Marquette will take on ninth-seeded Michigan State on Thursday in an NCAA East Region game.

The Spartans (22-11), who fell to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals, weren't expected to make the NCAAs after seeing three players taken among the first 34 picks in last year's NBA draft.

Junior guard Drew Neitzel was the only player returning player with extensive starting experience. Neitzel leads the team in scoring (18.3 ppg) and connects on over 41 percent of his 3-point attempts.

Michigan State, making its 10th straight NCAA tournament appearance, owns wins over then-No. 1 Wisconsin, No. 15 Texas and No. 23 BYU. The Spartans have reached the Final Four in four of the last eight seasons under coach Tom Izzo but lost to George Mason in the first round last season.

Marquette (24-9) has lost five of its last eight games, including an 89-79 loss to Pittsburgh in the Big East tournament quarterfinals.

The Golden Eagles are led by sophomore guards Dominic James (14.9 ppg) and Jerel McNeal (14.7). McNeal missed the Big East tourney with an injured thumb and is expected to miss Thursday's game. It's a costly loss since the Big East Defensive Player of the Year would have guarded Neitzel.

Marquette coach Tom Crean was Izzo's top assistant in East Lansing from 1995-99.

The Golden Eagles are 35-25 all-time in 24 NCAA appearances, losing to Alabama in the first round in 2006.

The winner likely will face top-seeded North Carolina in Saturday's second round.








  • EAST REGIONAL
    AT WINSTON-SALEM NC
    NCAA BB EAST REGIONAL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
    --- --- -----
    MICHIGAN ST 30 31 61
    MARQUETTE 18 31 49 FINAL

    Mar 15 9:35 PM


  • EAST REGIONAL
    AT WINSTON-SALEM NC
    NCAA BB (9) MICHIGAN ST 30
    (8) MARQUETTE 18 HALFTIME

    Mar 15 8:12 PM
  • 19
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 19 roots

    Michigan State vs. MarquetteMar 15 8:12 PM