Spartans Prove That Sweltering Defense and a Sound Offense are Unbeatable
Defense wins championships...and a good offense sure can help.
The Michigan State Spartans' dancing shoes haven't worn off, and neither have the soles of their sneakers.
Sparty granted itself a National Championship berth with a victory over Connecticut on Saturday night in Detroit. They won by doing what they had been doing all tournament, playing defense.
Sweltering defense, that is.
Michigan State danced their way into the Final Four by not allowing 70 points in a game.
They held Louisville, run and gun Louisville, to 52 points in the Midwest regional final, as well as Kansas to 62 points.
When seeing the daunting task in front of them in Jim Calhoun's Connecticut Huskies, they didn't shy away from the task.
7' 3" Hasheem Thabeet didn't scare them; just ask the players involved in a skirmish with the Huskies' big man.
The Spartans stole the ball 11 times; the highlight steal coming with 3:18 left in the game.
UConn forward Stanley Robinson took the ball into the lane, and was stripped by Travis Walton of MSU. Kalin Lucas then launched a full-court pass to a wide open Raymar Morgan, who dunked it with a scream that was heard 92 miles away on the Michigan State campus in East Lansing.
Robinson was stripped on the next possession, and that turnover resulted in a Kalin Lucas three-pointer for the Spartans.
Lucas led the Spartans in scoring with 21 points, and Thabeet led Connecticut with 17. Raymar Morgan had a game-high five steals, and UConn committed 16 turnovers.
Michigan State's offense looked very impresive after being simply solid throughout the tournament.
Lucas hit three of the team's six triples, and they shot 70 percent from the charity stripe.
State was able to run all over the Huskies, mainly due to their scrappy defense causing turnovers and forced shots. Numerous times the Spartans had numbers, and cashed in for an easy bucket.
The Spartans' were able to put an exclamation mark on one of their fast breaks, with Durell Summers dunking over Stanley Robinson, and the "home crowd" in Detroit going crazy.
Every time that the Huskies would drive, the Spartans would surround the ball handler. The three-point attempts weren't there, with Connecticut only attempting six and making two.
They got their paws on the bal,l and then a swarm of green chased after it...and usually came up with it.
This would lead to a fast break and, in Morgan's case, a throw down on the other end.
With Michigan State locking up their opponent on one end, and either running or setting up their half-court offense (which is one of the best in the nation), Sparty has a great chance at cutting down the nets in Detroit, and taking the championship 92 miles to East Lansing, home of the Izzone.
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