Will three be a lucky number for both Michigan and Michigan State basketball in the NCAA tournament?

The Spartans are the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region and will play Bucknell at Little Caesars Arena on Friday.

The Wolverines head west and will face Montana on Thursday in a first-round battle.

More: Print your NCAA tournament bracket here!

Here's what the national pundits — CBS/Turner stars Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, and ESPN's Seth Greenberg, Jay Bilas, Dick Vitale and Jay Williams — were saying:

Michigan State

Williams, Greenberg, Vitale and Bilas all had MSU getting to the Final Four, and Vitale, Greenberg and Bilas had the Spartans winning the whole thing.

"If I'm Michigan State, I absolutely love this bracket. It gives them another chance at Duke,'' Greenberg said. "Michigan State; this bracket sets up for them to go to the Final Four.

"I think Michigan State has been so vastly undervalued in this entire process,'' Bilas said. "On the seed list they are ninth. They were 11th in February. I don't understand that. They lost only four games. There's no metric that has them ninth.''

One of MSU's four losses this season came in their second game of the season, against Duke, 88-81, in Chicago.

Said Bilas: "Michigan State should've been a 2 (seed). I think Michigan State and Duke have a great chance to get through. Take Cincinnati, Purdue, Duke and North Carolina. Are any of them playing better than Michigan State?''

"I like Michigan State. I'm going to pull for my Auburn Tigers, but Michigan State is coming out of there,'' Barkley said.


"Michigan is a sleeper team because people kind of forgot about them,'' Smith said. "Now they're getting their roll on.''

"The (North) Carolina-Michigan rematch,'' Bilas said. "It will happen.''

U-M lost to North Carolina, 86-71, on Nov. 29. The Tar Heels are the No. 2 seed in the West.

"It's a favorable draw for Michigan if they get to North Carolina, and i think they will,'' Bilas said. "North Carolina can speed them (up). That's a big difference. Carolina is an outstanding rebounding team. I think that's the only place Michigan is vulnerable, is on the glass. But their defense is so much better and their defensive rebounding is vastly improved over what it was in previous years.''

Said Greenberg: "This team plays with a chip. This team has the ability to guard the basketball. The matchup is Zavier Simpson and Joe Berry. That will be an interesting matchup to watch.''

The four ESPN analysts had Michigan making the Elite 8. Bilas had U-M reaching the Final Four.

Greenberg: "I like this bracket for Michigan. I think it sets up very well for them.

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