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2009 NCAA Tournament: Midwest Regional Elite 8 Recap

Michigan State shocks Louisville to advance to Final Four


Midwest Regional Championship @ Lucas Oil Stadium - Indianapolis

No. 2 Michigan State (30-6) 64 - No. 1 Louisville (31-6) 52

Key Moment: Spartans went on an 18-2 run midway through the second half.

High Point Scorers: Michigan State -- Goran Suton 19, Louisville -- Earl Clark 19

Analysis: Maybe the surprise result of any of the Elite 8 games. However, the tough-minded Big 10 regular season champion Spartans embodied their coach Tom Izzo and reached their fifth Final Four in 11 years -- the most of any program during that time -- because they were determined to play a deliberate and patient style of game. Louisville's attempt to play an uptempo style proved fruitless because point guard Kalin Lucas broke it time and time again. Michigan State made the Cardinals, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, play frustrated.

This also gives the state of Michigan a lift. The state has been hit hard economically because of the problems with the Big 3 automakers. So this is something that the state can definitely embrace. But this isn't just a do-it-for-the-state type of story. The Spartans were always thought of as one of about 10 teams good enough to get to Ford Field. With Detroit so close, the idea of getting to Ford Field became the mission when workouts began in October.

Goran Suton was huge in this regional. His 14 early points in the first half helped the Spartans fend off constand Louisville charges. More than that, he had key tap outs or made a defensive play that kept possessions alive. So all of the little things he did were noticeable. And if you told Izzo forward Raymar Morgan would score only four points in the two regional games, he probably thought there would be no way his team would make it.

Louisville, the Big East regular season and tournament champions, just never found a rhythm. The Cardinals shot 38 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point range. Terrence Williams only scored five points and Samardo Samuels didn't score.

Controlling the pace and efficiently running the offense was a thing of beauty. Now, the Spartans will face West regional champion Connecticut in one semifinal at 6:07 EDT on Saturday.



By Kevin Lonnquist
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer

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