Derrick Nix scored 23 points and pulled down a career high 15 rebounds, leading Michigan State to a 65-54 win over Valparaiso in the Spartans' first game of the NCAA tournament. The game was played at the Palace in Auburn Hills. MSU led 35-18 at halftime and was never threatened after that. A 26-5 run in the first half was key to the eventual margin. MSU is now 26-8, the same record which Valpo finishes its season. The Spartans play at the Palace Saturday against the winner of Thursday's St. Mary's vs. Memphis game.