Recap and Recovery: 5 Reasons Why Michigan State Lost to Louisville

Tim KeeneyContributor IMarch 22, 2012

Recap and Recovery: 5 Reasons Why Michigan State Lost to Louisville

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    The Michigan State Spartans have had a terrific season, but it call came crashing down tonight as they fell victim to Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals in the Sweet 16.

    Coming into the season, no one really pegged MSU as a top-four team, but Tom Izzo did yet another great job with this team and earned it a No. 1 seed.

    Nonetheless, the Spartans were simply outplayed and now have to head home while Louisville moves on.

    Here's a look at why the Spartans had so much trouble in this one.

Peyton Siva

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    Siva had a very poor night shooting the ball (2-for-9) and he committed five turnovers, but his ability to penetrate MSU's defense was key.

    This game had two of the quickest point guards in the nation in Siva and Keith Appling, and it was fun to watch, but Siva couldn't be contained.

    The junior point guard racked up nine assists as the defense regularly collapsed on him and he regularly found a big man for a dunk or a shooter for a three-pointer.

    Against Michigan State's tough, bruising defense, it's important to have quick guards who can beat people off the dribble. The Cardinals had three with Siva, Chris Smith and Russ Smith.

Poor Shooting

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    Blame the loss on whatever you want, but when you shoot 28.6 percent from the field and score only 44 points, it's going to be hard to beat anyone.

    Louisville put the pressure on all over the court, and that had a lot to do with MSU's poor shooting night, but the Spartans missed open shots too.

    The Spartans have won before on ugly nights like these, but it's been because they were able to crash the offensive boards, which they weren't able to do tonight.

    On 36 missed shots, the Spartans only grabbed seven offensive rebounds. Considering they had a sizable advantage on the inside, that's a pretty disappointing number.

Gorgui Dieng

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    The Spartans had a size advantage on the inside with Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix, but Gorgui Dieng pretty much negated that advantage all by himself.

    Dieng was a force in the middle on the defensive end, piling up seven blocks and three steals. The Spartans were supposed to bully Louisville in the middle, but Dieng's presence pretty much scared them away from that.

    Payne and Nix, who average 15 points per game, were only able to get eight.

    What's more, with Dieng playing so effectively in the middle, the Cardinals' perimeter players were able to step out and pressure on the outside, and that made things all that much harder for Keith Appling, Brandon Wood, and company. 

Too Many Turnovers

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    The Spartans average 13 turnovers on the season, and that's a pretty high number, so they've been able to live with it. But against Louisville, they needed to cut that number down and didn't.

    The Cardinals are a mediocre team when they have to run the offense out of a half-court set, but when they are able to force turnovers and get out on the break, they are tough to beat.

    So when the Spartans turn the ball over 15 times and Louisville gets countless transition points, it's bad news for Michigan State.

    Give credit to Louisville for pressuring Michigan State for all 90 feet and making the Spartans very uncomfortable. Michigan State was supposed to handle a faster game, but they looked more like a classic, slow-it-down Big Ten team in this one. 

Draymond Green

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    It's hard to blame a loss on Draymond Green, who has carried the Spartans so many times during his four-year career in Lansing. 

    It seemed to me that this game was the opposite of what Green's career has been all about.

    During his time with the Spartans, Green (at least before this year) never lit up any one stat or exploded out of the box score, but if you watched his game you knew how good and how important he was.

    In this one, however, Green's stats are impressive (13 points, 16 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks), but he didn't play all that great of a game.

    The senior had six turnovers, didn't shoot the ball well, and seemed visibly frustrated with Louisville's pressure all night long. In this case, the Cardinals' lack of size helped them, as they usually had someone smaller than Green guarding him and making him uncomfortable. 

    It was a disappointing end to a brilliant career for Green.