The 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament features one of the top teams in the nation on Friday night, when the No. 1-seed Michigan State Spartans (27-7) face the No. 16-seeded Long Island University Brooklyn Blackbirds (25-8) at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH. in a second-round showdown.
The tip off takes place at about 9:20 p.m. ET. The game will be television on TBS.
If you're looking to watch the game online, it can be seen on March Madness On Demand, which shows every NCAA Men's Tournament game for a one-time payment of $3.99.
Coke Zero is offering free access to the March Madness stream if you sign up for Coke Zero texting alerts with standard text messaging rates applied. In order to get access to the free live stream, you text the number zero with your favorite team to 2653. After sending the text message, you should get a code to use at ncaa.com/cokezero.
The Spartans are often a legitimate threat to go deep in the tournament as Tom Izzo has proven to be one of the most successful head coaches in college basketball.
This season, Izzo has relied on Draymond Green, the Big Ten Player of the Year, who has averaged 16.1 points per game and 10.4 rebounds. The 6'7 senior has been a steady force for Michigan State this season, and has shown the ability to take over a game, like when he scored 34 points against Gonzaga in December.
Keith Appling has been another important contributor for Izzo. The sophomore guard is averaging 11.3 points per game, and is a reliable free-throw shooter.
The Spartans are riding a three-game winning streak that includes a victory over No. 7 Ohio State, 68-64, on Sunday in the Big Ten tournament championship game.
The Blackbirds are riding a hot streak, too, as the New York City team have won 11 of their last 12 games. Head coach Jim Ferry has one of the best offenses in the nation, with an 81.9 scoring average.
With an eclectic group of players, Ferry has guided the Blackbirds to an excellent record behind their high-octane offense.
Julian Boyd is a player to keep an eye on. The 6'7 junior averages 17.4 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. The Blackbirds also have Jamal Olasewere and C.J. Gartner -- two juniors who have proven to be quality scorers for Ferry.
It will be interesting to see how the high-scoring Blackbirds challenge the Spartans, as underdogs with nothing to lose.
PREDICTION: There won't be a Cinderella story here, as the Spartans will survive a scare from the Blackbirds by playing tough defense, and by taking advantage of their opponents' shortcomings. The Blackbirds won't be able to run up the score against a team like Michigan State, and in the midwest location. Expect a hard-fought game, but for Izzo's squad to step up when it matters.
PREDICTED SCORE: Michigan State over LIU Brooklyn, 74-63