Commentary

Spartans rally to eliminate champs

Updated: March 28, 2009, 12:52 AM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

Michigan State never panicked and showed such heart by beating Kansas in the Sweet 16 showdown.

Tom Izzo's team showed tremendous composure down 13 points. The Spartans fought and clawed their way back as Kalin Lucas made a number of outstanding plays down the stretch. This team exemplifies the personality of its coach, Mr. Izzo.

It is psychologically important to note the Spartans are 40 minutes away from playing in the Final Four at Ford Field.

Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich were outstanding for the Jayhawks. They combined to hit 15-of-26 shots from the floor. Michigan State took advantage of a few breaks, setting up the linguini special, Izzo against Pitino, baby!

Give some credit to Goran Suton too. After totaling 18 points in the first two games of the tournament, he scored 20 against the Jayhawks. Suton also grabbed nine rebounds in his battle with Aldrich inside.

Michigan State was clutch on the foul line, hitting 16-of-17 from the charity stripe. Chris Allen made a few big plays while Durrell Summers chipped in with nine big points.

It was an amazing season for Kansas. Think about what Bill Self's team lost from last season, six key players (Darrell Arthur, Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers, Sasha Kaun, Darrell Jackson and Russell Robinson), yet this team won the Big 12 regular-season title.

Unfortunately Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk fell just short. Michigan State survives and advances.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.