Michigan State and FAU were the teams to advance in March Madness, but Fairleigh Dickinson had one of the biggest upsets in history.
It was the lower seeds that thrived in Columbus as (7) Michigan State and (9) FAU advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. (1) Purdue was dethroned by (16) Fairleigh Dickinson as one of the craziest upsets in March Madness history.
Columbus Region Most Outstanding Player
Both FAU and MSU are teams with multiple options, making this a tougher award to decide. However, Walker put up 23 points and 2 assists against the 2-seeded Marquette Golden Eagles, as he helped carry the Spartans to another Sweet Sixteen.
Columbus Region First Team
- G: Tyson Walker, Michigan State – 2 games (17.5 PPG, 3.0 APG, 2.5 RPG, 1.0 SPG)
- G: Johnell Davis, FAU – 2 games (20.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.0 APG, 2.5 SPG, 50.0 FG%)
- G: Demetre Roberts, Fairleigh Dickinson – 2 games (16 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.0 SPG)
- F: Joey Hauser, Michigan State – 2 games (15.5 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 0.5 APG, 55.6 3P%)
- F: Oso Ighodaro, Marquette – 2 games (12.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.5 APG, 57.9 FG%)
#1: Never doubt Tom Izzo in March
Maybe it should be known at this point, but Tom Izzo knows how to win in March. Coming in as the 7 seed, Michigan State controlled both games to get to the Sweet Sixteen. Izzo has created a roster with multiple guys who can create their own shot or a shot for others.
Two big contributions came from Mady Sissoko and Carson Cooper, two centers that do not get much usage on offense but are critical on defense. They have guards around them that can really handle the offense, and Izzo understands what needs to happen to win games in March.
#2: FAU is legit
It was known that FAU was good, coming into March Madness with 31 wins. They beat a red-hot Memphis team on a last second shot. They then were able to knock off FDU in a game that everyone in the building was rooting for the Knights.
Johnell Davis is one of the better players left in the tourney, but what makes FAU so good is their depth. They have 8-9 guys every game that they are cool with playing 20+ minutes and closing the game. That makes them scary.
#3: Fairleigh Dickinson pulled off the unthinkable
FDU came in as a 16 seed after having had to play in the First Four. They did an unbelievable job against Purdue, daring anyone not named Zach Edey to beat them. They let up countless open threes, but none of them fell by Purdue, and FDU was able to pull off the improbable upset. Demetre Roberts was unreal with the ball in his hands, and it was tough for anyone to stay in front of him.
Lookahead for Michigan State
Michigan State will take on Kansas State in a game that has potential to be an all time great. Both teams have dynamic guards from New York in Tyson Walker and Markquis Nowell respectively. Both teams have great number 2s. The Spartans have not been a team that has dominated the regular season, which makes it harder to believe that they would make a deep run. However, the region has broke super nicely for them, and they have one of the best coaches in March.
Lookahead for FAU
It will be a big adjustment going from having to play the defense of FDU to Tennessee. It will be a tall task, but they have plenty of guards that can make things happen. There is a reason this team has only lost three games all season. It will be a much tougher path going forward which makes it hard to envision a deep run, but anything can happen with this team.