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Michigan State's Appling sore but should play

EAST LANSING — Michigan State starting PG Keith Appling is sore but will play Friday against Duke, coach Tom Izzo said.

Appling aggravated a right shoulder injury in Saturday's victory over Memphis and missed the final 8:35 of the game. He has also been nursing tendinitis on his left knee that became a problem in Thursday's victory over Valparaiso.

Appling practiced Monday with his shoulder in a protective wrap after taking a pad off his knee.

"I think he's going to be fine," Izzo said Monday. "I think he'll be a little sore and maybe we'll keep him out of some drills this week that are more physical."

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior leads Michigan State with 13.3 points and 3.4 assists per game. The Spartans, the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region, face the No. 2 seed Blue Devils at 9:45 p.m. Friday.

A NEW FAN: The Wichita State Shockers were met by an unexpected fan when they arrived home from their latest tournament victory.

A plane carrying Jets backup QB Tim Tebow was refueling in Wichita when the Shockers' bus arrived Sunday after their upset of top-seeded Gonzaga. Tebow's representative asked coach Gregg Marshall if the Heisman Trophy winner could talk to the team.

Tebow got on the bus and told the players their run to the Sweet 16 is an inspiration to many and something they will remember for the rest of their lives.

TOURNAMENT ODDS: According to stats guru Nate Silver of the New York Times and the website, No. 1 overall seed Louisville has the best odds — 32.4 percent — of winning the NCAA championship of the 16 teams left, up from 23.8 percent before the tournament started. The team with the next best chance? That would be Florida, given a 21.3 percent chance of winning, up from 13.2. Bringing up the rear: tournament darling Florida Gulf Coast, given a .02 percent chance of winning it all.

BIG TEN ON TOP: The Big Ten has four teams still alive, its best showing ever through the round of 32. It could get even better: An All-Big Ten Final Four is possible because top-seeded Indiana, second-seeded Ohio State, third-seeded Michigan State and fourth-seeded Michigan compete in different regions.

RATINGS UP: The NCAA Tournament's first Sunday earned its highest television rating in 20 years. Sunday's third-round games on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV averaged a 7.6 overnight household rating and 15 share, the highest rating since 1993. That year, the rating was 8.5 and 20 share. The networks say that's up 19 percent from 2012.

Michigan State's Appling sore but should play 03/25/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 25, 2013 8:09pm]
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