(WXYZ) - Michigan and Michigan State will both play in the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in the history of the NCAA tournament Friday.
Michigan will take on number one-seed Kansas at 7:37 p.m. in Arlington, TX. The game will be shown on TBS.
The Spartans face two-seed Duke in the Midwest Region with a 9:45 game in Indianapolis. The game will be shown in CBS.
Michigan vs. Kansas Preview
Michigan coach John Beilein briefly lost track of how long it's been since the Wolverines reached the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament.
Sixteen years, he said. No, 18. Wait. 19.
He was right the third time, but here's how to make it a little simpler. The Fab Five era of the early 1990s was the last time the No. 4 seed Wolverines (28-7) made it this far.
For top-seeded Kansas (31-5) -- their opponent in the South Regional semifinals Friday night -- Fab Five means something more like five trips at least this far in the past six NCAA tournaments, not to mention a championship in 2008 and another appearance in the title game last year.
The way Beilein figures it, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. were the only players in his rotation who had any NCAA experience last week, and the Wolverines won twice anyway for the first time since Jalen Rose and Juwan Howard led the way a year after Chris Webber broke up the original class of freshmen by leaving for the NBA.
"It was all new to them then," Beilein said of the early rounds in suburban Detroit. "And the next step is new to all our guys. I didn't see our kids affected by that. I think we're more affected by the opponent right now than how long it's been or where it's at."
Now that Beilein mentions it, the site is noteworthy as well. Cowboys Stadium is about 15 miles from now-demolished Reunion Arena in downtown Dallas, where Howard, Rose, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King played their last game together in a loss to Arkansas in the regional finals. When Webber was still with them, those five lost in back-to-back championship games in 1992-93.
"I actually talked to Jimmy King on Monday," said freshman Mitch McGary, who had 21 points and 14 rebounds in the win over Virginia Commonwealth that sent the Wolverines to Texas. "He came in and spoke in one of our classes. He knows what to experience from it. And it's the same game of basketball. He just said go have fun and play your game."
McGary is one of three freshmen who start alongside Hardaway and Burke, a national player of the year candidate who leads Michigan at 18.8 points per game. The Jayhawks have four senior starters with 45 NCAA games between them.
"I wouldn't look at it as an advantage because Michigan is a great team," said Travis Releford, who led Kansas with 22 points in a win over North Carolina that sent the Jayhawks to what will be the school's 30th game in the round of 16. "We're not going into it thinking that we've been here more times than them."
Michigan spent a week at No. 1 in the poll before going 6-6 leading into the NCAAs. That included a blowout loss to Michigan State and a slow start against 13th-seeded South Dakota State in the tournament.
Hardaway and Glenn Robinson III -- both sons of former NBA players -- offset a rough game for Burke in the tournament opener with 21 points apiece before McGary took charge in the next round. The late-season swoon made more sense after four Big Ten teams were among the final 16 for the second straight year.
The Jayhawks had their first three-game losing streak in eight years in the middle of Big 12 play, including a nearly inexplicable loss just down the road at TCU. It was one of just two conference wins for the Horned Frogs, who held Kansas to 19 percent shooting in the first half and 30 for the game.
Now Kansas is dealing with a slump from leading scorer Ben McLemore, a freshman and the only non-senior starter. He played just 24 minutes -- his fewest since before conference play -- and went 0 of 9 from the field against North Carolina. He had a career-low two points after scoring just five in the Big 12 tournament championship against Kansas State.
"It's not like a pitcher with a no-hitter going into the seventh, nobody talk to him," said Kansas coach Bill Self. "So we try to work with him, but not work with him from a situation where, hey, you know you've got to do this, you've got to do that. He's trying hard."
McLemore, who averages 15.8 points and is the team's leading 3-point threat, didn't mind watching Releford and 7-footer Jeff Withey take over against North Carolina. Withey, the leading shot blocker in tournament history, had 16 points and five blocks for the lone Big 12 survivor among five entrants.
"When I was on the bench, I was still having fun," McLemore said. "It was just great to see them do all their things without me on the court."
Michigan State vs. Duke Preview
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski have been teaching young men how to play basketball for decades.
On Thursday, they demonstrated why they're so
good. They stay loose.
Instead of getting tense and out of sorts the day before the Midwest Regional's well-hyped coaching matchup, the pair took turns praising one another's styles, their loyalty to their schools and their teams' penchant for limiting mistakes. Then they turned around and poked fun at themselves and their families.
It was basketball at its most polite.
"I consider him a great friend. There's nothing about Tom that I don't think is good. If we lose to them, believe me, I'll hug him and shake his hand, and he'll do the same for me. I like that," said Krzyzewski, the NCAA Division I record-holder with 956 career wins. "I think it's more the way it used to be in coaching, and probably we both have great teachers in that regard and were brought up a certain way where we understand the game is bigger than anybody."
Even heading into a game that will put one of these coaches within a victory of yet another Final Four trip.
There may not be a more compelling coaching duel in this year's tournament.
In 33 seasons at Duke, Krzyzewski has gone to 11 Final Fours, the most among active coaches. He is one of only three coaches in NCAA history to win at least four national championships, two of those coming in Indy. The last time he faced Michigan State, the Blue Devils gave him a 74-69 win that broke Bob Knight's career record for wins.
Izzo doesn't mind playing that role.
"I'm going to be famous someday because it was our game last year at New York that broke the record, and I guess if you've got to be famous, who cares what the reason is," Izzo said, drawing laughter. "Yet, I look at it too that if we had to lose to somebody that was doing something special, the class and the way he's done things over time, his staff, his recruiting, we've had to recruit against him a few times and it's always fair and up and up. We usually lose, but we're trying to make some progress."
Izzo's done a pretty darn good job in his own right. He owns a school-record 439 career wins in 18 seasons at Michigan State and won his only national title in 2000, also in Indy.
But as two of the longest-tenured and most successful college coaches, each has their own distinct style.
Izzo has, at times over the past week, taken away players' cell phones to improve communication within the team and help them focus. Krzyzewski has not.
Izzo prefers hearing the chatter on the team bus, while Krzyzewski seems more inclined to concentrate on game plans.
And while Krzyzewski only occasionally pumps a fist or screams, Izzo never hesitates to show his passion.
"My favorite story was my freshman year when I got a dunk at Purdue and I missed it. I hung on the rim and grabbed the ball as it came off and dunked it again," forward Derrick Nix said. "I got called for a technical for hanging on the rim, and when I came over, coach Izzo asked me if I thought I was playing in the city league."
It's enough to make anyone, including Nix, laugh.
Both come into the game focused first on defense, though Duke (29-5) has been slightly more proficient on offense and Michigan State (27-8) slightly more physical. Both can rely on their high-scoring big men -- Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly for the Blue Devils and Nix and Adreian Payne for the Spartans -- to carry them. And both have been contended with injuries to key players who say they hope will be at or close to 100 percent Friday.
Kelly missed 13 games earlier this season with a right foot injury but has played well since returning and appeared to be having fun as his teammates closed their 50-minute open practice with a pseudo-dunk contest.
Keith Appling wore a brace over his injured right shoulder during the Spartans' open workout, and like his teammates, appeared to be at ease as Izzo roamed the court, shouted instructions and shook hands with the people he knew before their dunk contest.
"I wouldn't really say that my shoulder is 100 percent, but it's close to it," Appling said. "I'm going to do as much as I possibly can to help my team advance in this tournament."
But what most people will be watching Friday night is the strategy coming from the sidelines.
"I'm going to enjoy it because it's like a Final Four game. It might be better than a Final Four game," former Virginia and Xavier coach Pete Gillen said. "I'd pay to see this one and I'm tight as a clam."
Even though Krzyzewski and Izzo would prefer to talk about anything other than their opposing coach.
"It's not going to be a chess match. That's putting the coaches too much involved here," Krzyzewski said. "We'll both have our teams prepared to play against one another, and you can't be instinctively reactive to what's going on in the game if you're constantly looking at your coach to tell you every move."