Spartans deliver shot in arm to Motown
Michigan State's players reflect on the personality of this community. I love their work ethic, their determination, their passion. It all showed on Saturday night at a loud Ford Field.
My friends, Tom Izzo's team showed how much they wanted it. Connecticut played with less passion and acted like its talent would be enough to get to the winner's circle. It wasn't meant to be.
Michigan State beat Connecticut in transition and a lot of people didn't think the Huskies could lose in that style of game.
Effective offensive rebounding shows that you are playing aggressive basketball. Look at the way the Spartans worked so hard on the offensive glass. Michigan State was probably tired of hearing about the Big East, so it dispatched Louisville and Connecticut back-to-back.
Raymar Morgan, who had seven points in the last three NCAA tourney games, came out with a different mindset. He scored 11 points in the first half as the Spartans went into the locker room with the lead. Give some credit to Korie Lucious, the diaper dandy who also had 11 points in seven minutes in the first half.
Michigan State did a super job containing AJ Price on the perimeter. Travis Walton did a great job on Price, not allowing him to beat him off the dribble. Price was not allowed good looks at the basket. That forced Connecticut to go inside even more than it wanted to. Jeff Adrien and Hasheem Thabeet played well but it was not enough.
Kemba Walker, who was so brilliant against Missouri in the regional final, had a rough time against the Spartans. I believe he will be a solid player next season and in the future.
Izzo got great play from his bench too. Draymond Green, Durrell Summers with an explosive dunk, Marquise Gray and Lucious helped get the Spartans the big victory. Michigan State won without a great game from Goran Suton.
The Huskies struggled on the foul line and turned the ball over too often and those were factors too.
When Connecticut cut the lead to 66-60, Kalin Lucas hit a huge three-pointer that stopped the Huskies' momentum. Lucas showed his jet-like quickness getting to the basket often in the win.
Then when Connecticut cut it to 74-71, the defense did not get back quickly enough and Summers went to the basket and converted for a hoop and a foul.
For Jim Calhoun, it was his first loss in the Final Four. He could have been the oldest coach to win a national championship, but those dreams came to an end. It was a great season for Connecticut, but Michigan State deserves credit for a super, scintillating, sensational performance.
This was a great win for the people of Michigan. This state needed something to rally around and now Monday night at Ford Field is going to be electric.