University fee could be directed to MSG

The Blue Bloods will not headline March Madness this year.

But three of them are crammed into the middle of the East Region, and they could come roar at Madison Square Garden next weekend.

At one point, the Garden had to wait 53 years between stints to host the NCAA tournament, but for the third time in the past 10 years, it will return to 33rd Street.

If the top four seeds all advance, Purdue, Marquette, Kansas State and Tennessee will meet in the Sweet 16.

In a stacked quadrant of the range, however, teams like Kentucky, Michigan State and Duke could mix up the results.

March 23-26 could be a weekend full of college basketball blue blood at the Garden.

Purdue, which won the Big Ten title on Sunday, would enter with National Player of the Year nominee Zach Edey as the focal point.

Kyle Filipowski and Duke could meet at Madison Square Garden.

The 7-foot-4 center has averaged 22.3 points per game and will be a defensive — and offensive — challenge for any team.

The Golden Eagles could recreate some magic at the Garden after sweeping the Big East Tournament last week, including a title game win over Xavier to clinch his first conference championship since joining the league.

Tennessee and Kansas State — the latter with four players from Harlem and Queens — have also spent time in the top 10 of the Associated Press rankings this season.

But then comes the intriguing part.

The part where Duke, Michigan State and Kentucky come in with their historic reputations.

The Blue Devils are in their first year of the post-Mike Krzyzewski era, but still won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship.

Betting on college basketball?

They have a mix of youth (Kyle Filipowski) and experience (Jeremy Roach), and have been identified as a group that could make a deep run as March moves closer to April.

Michigan State moved to MSG in 2014 and lost to UConn in the Elite Eight, a Huskies run that brought Big East nostalgia to the Garden.

Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo
Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo
Getty Images

Florida and Wisconsin created an overtime thriller in 2017, with South Carolina then knocking out the Gators to clinch their first Final Four in program history.

This time, a matchup between Kentucky and Michigan State — with Duke possibly waiting in the Elite Eight — could provide a desirable alternative to advancing the top seeds.

These blue bloods, ranked lower than their peak years, still loom large.


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