SUBSCRIBE NOW
$1 for 3 months. Save 97%.
SUBSCRIBE NOW
$1 for 3 months. Save 97%.

MSU's stunning loss was bracket buster

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
An emotional Matt Costello pauses to hug Tom Izzo as MSU falls Friday to Middle Tennessee, 90-81 in the first round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament

Brooklyn, N.Y. — The Big Ten was a little taken aback by its unfavorable seedings in the NCAA Tournament.

Well, the two teams that played for the Big Ten tournament championship five days ago ... they're gone.

Purdue was bounced Thursday by Arkansas-Little Rock in one of those Nos. 5-12 matchups that seem to go either way.

Then, in possible the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history, Big Ten tournament champion Michigan State was stunned by Middle Tennessee on Friday.

Iowa beat Temple in overtime on a last-second tip-in and Maryland held off South Dakota State to save the conference a bit of face Friday.

Here are some notables regarding the Spartans' stunning first-round exit.

Spartans shocked: ‘It’s a nightmare’

* ESPN.com had more than 13 million entries in its NCAA competition, and after Michigan State lost, only six had perfect brackets. That was down to three within an hour of the loss by Michigan State, which was the pick of 22.3 percent of contestants to win the national championship. That trailed only Kansas, which was the pick by 25 percent.

* That was a horrific loss for coach Tom Izzo, easily the worst of his career at Michigan State. But he can take solace knowing he's in some Hall of Fame company. Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim, Lute Olson and John Thompson III are among the eight coaches who've lost with a No. 2 seed to a No. 15 seed. Larry Eustachy, Eddie Fogler and Frank Haith were the others.

* Michigan State's runs in the NCAA Tournament have almost always been built by defense under Izzo. The 90 points Middle Tennessee scored were the second-most against an Izzo-coached team in the NCAA Tournament; Memphis scored 92 in a 2008 regional semifinal.

* The previous worst upset of Michigan State was in 1995, when No. 14 Weber State beat No. 3 MSU, 79-72, in Jud Heathcote's last game as coach of the Spartans.

* Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis will get a $31,250 bonus for beating Michigan State; his base salary is $375,000.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/tonypaul1984