Michigan State is in the NCAA Tournament, but it will be a continual uphill battle if the Spartans want to make a run.

Tom Izzo’s Spartans were on the bubble all season long, just barely doing enough to squeak into the field of 68. The reveal show on CBS indicated that Michigan State was one of the final four teams in the field, and that put them into a First Four matchup against UCLA with the winner set to face 6-seed BYU.

While the Spartans were thankful just to make the Tournament to start with, some were surprised to find both MSU and UCLA facing each other in the First Four. The comments made by NCAA Committee chair Mitch Barnhart also left some scratching their heads a bit.

Barnartdiscussed the process of the Committee before indicating the matchup was one “we thought it’d be a heck of a way to start the tournament off.” He was quick to indicate his comments were facetious, but it not hard to believe the Committee making sure to have at least one marquee matchup in the First Four.

Chris Solari with the Detroit Free Press shared Barnhart’s full comment:

While the First Four seeding might not be fun, the Spartans also had the opportunity to avoid this position in the B1G Tournament. Occupying the 10-seed in the same region as Michigan State is Maryland, the team that knocked off the Spartans in the B1G Tournament. A win over the Terps likely would have pushed Izzo and company out of the First Four to begin with.