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How Middle Tennessee is leading Michigan State at halftime

No. 15 Middle Tennessee leads No. 2 Michigan State by six at halftime (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Middle Tennessee is leading Michigan State 41-35 at the half and could become the eighth No. 15 seed to upset a No. 2 seed in tournament history

Everything went the Blue Raiders’ way in the first half, starting with Michigan State struggling to hit its shots in the early goings, making just 1 of 5 from the field in the game’s first five minutes. Plus, the Spartans turned the ball over seven times after averaging less than 12 per game during the regular season.

Middle Tennessee, meanwhile, is 8 for 13 on three-point shots. It was the 18th best team in the nation from long range (38.9 percent), so this could continue in the second half, widening the gap even further.

But you have to think Coach Tom Izzo, the biggest overachiever in the tournament, will make the necessary adjustments in the second half.

Denzel Valentine, the nation’s best player, could also be a game-changer in the second half. He has just eight points on 3-of-6 shooting but is already 2 for 3 from deep and has the court vision to make the Spartans get the easy baskets.

Even the win probability formulas aren’t ready to make Middle Tennessee the favorite. They currently have MSU as a 66 percent favorite, even though it trails by six.