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    JOE SULLIVAN’S MIDWEST REGION ANALYSIS

    Michigan State has right stuff to derail Kansas

    Michigan State coach Tom Izzo reacts during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Penn State, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, in East Lansing, Mich. Michigan State won 76-68. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
    Al Goldis/AP
    Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and the Spartans should be fired up about their tournament chances.

    Kansas won the Big 12 title for the 14th straight season and got another No. 1 seed but this is not a vintage Bill Self team. The Jayhawks are vulnerable. They have Penn in the first round and if there’s going to be an historic first victory for a 16 seed this season this is where it would happen. Not likely, of course. The Jayhawks will get to the Sweet 16 because they should overcome Seton Hall in the second round. Upsets could happen in the bracket near them as both Auburn and Clemson are in danger against underrated first-round opponents in Charleston and New Mexico State. Where Kansas gets into trouble is in the region final where the Jayhawks will face an opponent coming out of the loaded bottom of the bracket, which includes Duke and Michigan State. The Blue Devils and Sparty should meet in the other regional semifinal but Duke could have some problems in the second round with Rhode Island if the Rams can find the form they had earlier in the season. Then the Blue Devils will have some real problems with Sparty.

    Upset specials: New Mexico State over Clemson, Charleston over Auburn.

    Sweet 16: Kansas, New Mexico State, Michigan State, Duke.

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    Regional champion: Michigan State

    Joe Sullivan can be reached at joseph.sullivan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeSullivan