The big win over Kansas put Northern Iowa on the map, and the glass slipper has been placed on their feet.
Michigan State is no stranger to deep runs in the tournament: Tom Izzo has directed them to two title games, five Final Four appearances, six Elite Eights, and nine Sweet 16 bids. Michigan State has been installed as a one-point favorite.
Why Michigan State Could Win
Izzo knows how to win in the tournament, and even though Kalin Lucas is out, having played only 16 minutes against Maryland. Even without Lucas the Spartans boast two double-digit scorers in Raymar Morgan and Durrell Summers. Also, Draymond Green averages just under 10 a game at 9.8.
Why Northern Iowa Could Win
They have a higher RPI than Michigan State, and like Cornell they have great veteran leadership. They get a little extra help with Lucas out, but they would have been ready to play even if he was in the lineup. Three players average 10 or more, and Ali Farokhmanesh is just under at 9.7 ppg.
Northern Iowa: Still riding high from beating Kansas, this team plays tough and together. Losing Lucas will cost the Spartans this game.