The last time Michigan State and Louisville faced off in the NCAA tournament, 2nd seed MSU beat the #1 overall seed Cardinals to reach the 2009 Final Four. Rick Pitino got his revenge tonight as his 2012 Cardinals beat Michigan State 57-44. MSU was widely expected to cruise to the Final Four after Missouri was upset by 15 seed Norfolk State in the first round, but instead Tom Izzo is left to wonder what happened to his offense. [h/t @WorldofIsaac]
In a game where MSU was expected to have a decisive advantage on the boards, getting outrebounded 34-32 tells a lot of the story. So does the fact that the Spartans shot 29% from the field and turned the ball over 15 times while Louisville — not exactly a group of marksmen from behind the arc — hit nine 3-pointers.
What will MSU look like next season? Draymond Green and Brandon Wood were the only two Spartans that scored more than 6 points, and both are seniors. Obviously, Green’s loss means a lot more than Wood’s, but both played key roles for the Spartans this season. Branden Dawson should get back to action after he recovers from his ACL injury and the Spartans’ incoming freshmen will provide some solid minutes, but it remains to be seen if this team has another Big Ten title run in it. For now, however, the lack of offensive punch in tonight’s loss will have Spartan fans shaking their head in disbelief (much like Izzo above) until next November.