Valpo veterans shooting for upset of 3rd-seeded Michigan St and its only senior, Derrick Nix

Valparaiso has earned a spot in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2004 with one of the most seasoned teams in college basketball.

When the 14th-seeded Crusaders shoot to upset third-seeded Michigan State on Thursday, experience will be on their side even though the Spartans are in the tourney for the 16th consecutive year.

Only Colorado State has had more games started by seniors this season than Valparaiso among teams in the NCAA tournament, according to STATS LLC. The Crusaders' seniors combined to start 160 games and help the school win a program-record 26 games.

The Spartans' lone senior, center Derrick Nix, started 31 games in his final regular season of a career that had more than its share of ups and downs.