Michigan State has come a long way to make it this far in the NCAA Tournament. After initially being given a 7 seed in the field, it seemed as if the Spartans had what it took to make a run at the Final Four, and sure enough, here they are. The Spartans will face Duke on Saturday.
Game of the Day
Michigan State 76 - Louisville 70
The Spartans got off to a solid start as the two teams traded buckets for the majority of the first half, but the momentum shifted sharply in favor of the Cardinals in the final few minutes. Michigan State didn't score a bucket in the final four minutes which allowed Louisville to sneak its way out to a 40-32 lead going into the locker rooms.
Despite digging itself into a little bit of a hole in the first half, Tom Izzo's Spartans stormed back and tied the game at 51 with just under 9 minutes to game. Michigan State used second half momentum to build a small lead, as back-to-back three pointers by Forbes and Trice would give the Spartans a 6 point advantage. Travis Trice would finish with a team-high 17 points while Bryn Forbes scored 14 off the bench. The two would finish with seven of the Spartans nine three pointers.
With the final two minutes approaching, Michigan State maintained a narrow 63-58 lead, but a free throw by Montrezl Harrell and a huge three pointer by Wayne Blackshear cut the lead down to 1. Blackshear finished with 28 including a perfect 12/12 from the charity stripe.
Two free throws by Balckshear on the very next possession gave the Cardinals a 63-64 lead, but with the shot clock running down on the other side of the court, Marvin Clark Jr. made a huge shot in the paint to give the Spartans a 1 point advantage.
After Terry Rozier missed a jumper, the freshman Clark Jr. had a chance to come up clutch again, this time at the free throw line. But like we've seen all year, the Spartans were unable to convert from the stripe as Clark missed a pair. Despite these two crucial misses, the Spartans finished 15-20 from the free throw line.
At the other end of the floor, Louisville's Mangok Mathiang was fouled after grabbing an offensive rebound. The big man shoots just 48% from the free throw line, but the first one dropped after looking like a brick, tying the game at 65. The second free throw wouldn't go, just like Travis Trice's half court three at the buzzer, and we were headed to overtime.
After facing a last second scare from Louisville, Michigan State was able to regain control and lead throughout the extra session. Bryn Forbes started the overtime session with a huge three, and even though Louisville cut the lead down to 2, Michigan State held on for a 76-70 victory and a trip to the Final Four.
The Spartans are this year's cinderella team as they make it two straight seaons with a 7 seed in the Final Four. They will play Duke on Saturday. Michigan State has already played Duke earlier this season in the Champions Classic where they lost 81-71. We will see a huge rematch between two veteran teams and veteran coaches next Saturday.