East Lansing Superlatives

By Jeff Lippman - March 18, 2007

I have arrived in East Lansing and Michigan State's Breslin Center. The statue of Earvin "Magic" Johnson outside the building sends shivers down your spine as you think about those years long ago when the Magic man ruled MSU's court.

On this day it will be first round action in the 2007 Women's NCAA Tournament and the day opens with the top seed in the location, No. 2 Vanderbilt, taking on the 15-seed Delaware State. Following that matchup will be 7-seed Bowling Green and 10-seed Oklahoma State. The winners of these games will face each other in Tuesday's second round.

Later this evening it will be Michigan State-Delaware (No. 5 vs. No. 12) and then to end the night, No. 4 Rutgers vs. 13-seed East Carolina.

Best Team Playing in East Lansing:

You have two major conference champions hitting the Breslin Center court today in 2-seed Vandy (SEC Champs) and 4-seed Rutgers (Big East Champs). Vandy took down LSU in their conference final and Rutgers shocked Connecticut to take their league. The Commodores have a higher seeding and the SEC is considered a tougher conference than the Big East, and so although it is close, the edge has to go to Vandy.

Best Player in East Lansing:

Although the wise choice here would go to either Rutgers' Essence Carson or Vandy's Carla Thomas, I am going to take the road less traveled--and with much better stats--and pick Delaware's Tyresa Smith. Smith, a senior guard, is averaging almost 20 points and eight boards per contest this season, including a career-high 32 against James Madison on Feb. 22. The Blue Hens get host Michigan State in the first round and they will need a big game from Smith if they hope to advance.

Tallest Player in East Lansing

Home team Michigan State's Allyssa DeHaan from close by Grandville, Mich., stands 6-foot-9, two inches taller than Duke's Alison Bales, and as a freshman is well on her way to becoming the nation's best shot blocker. She has already set a record for blocked shots by a freshman, add that to the 12.6 points and 7.5 boards she averages per game and you have yourself a star in the making.

Surprise Team in East Lansing

I like Bowling Green. Led by senior forward Ali Mann (15.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.6 apg), the Falcons have been ranked in the Top 25 all season and finished the year 29-3. They may just be the best 7-seed in the entire tournament and the Cowgirls of OSU shouldn't pose a first-round problem. Should the Falcons advance, most likely they'd have SEC champ Vanderbilt standing between them and the Sweet 16, and you can bet that is going to be an excellent game. Watch out for these Falcons...

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 10:34 AM on March 18, 2007

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