Blog Entry

Spartans Cobble Together an Elite Eight Win

Posted on: March 28, 2010 5:08 pm
Edited on: March 28, 2010 5:09 pm
 

C.M. TOMLIN



While you spent the last two hours changing lightbulbs and cleaning out your gutters in preparation for spring because you promised your wife last weekend that you'd do all that stuff this weekend, in St. Louis Bruce Pearl's Volunteers and Tom Izzo's Spartans beat the tar out of each other in a back-and-forth that would end with a 70-69 Michigan State victory and propel them to yet another Final Four. Tied at 69, Tennessee guard J.P. Prince would mar an otherwise stellar, hustling performance by fouling senior forward Raymar Morgan, offering Morgan the point he'd need to send the Spartans to Indianapolis next weekend. Prince had 12 points on the day and teammate Wayne Chism chimed in with another 13. You can't say the Vols weren't competitive. There wasn't even a hunch as to who was going to come out of this one -- it was a dead heat. And it could have gone either way.

The constants we all expected were there. Tennessee's speed and lethal attacks. Michigan State's determination. Tom Izzo's ability to adapt. Bruce Pearl's gallons and gallons of sweat. 

The way it did go in the end, however, was the way Michigan State wanted it to go. Once again the team pulled together in Kalin Lucas' absence (these guys are starting to supersede the Kalin Lucas story with their own amazing resilience) to piece together a team effort that saw Durrell Summers with 21, Korie Lucious with 8 and both Morgan and Draymond Green marked down for 13 apiece. Tennessee fought them tooth and nail, but the Spartans earned this one and continued to defy those who said they couldn't perform without Lucas. 

So the Volunteers head home to Knoxville after their fiercest battle toward the Final Four in history and the Spartans prepare to take a short road trip south to face Butler in their home town, two teams which -- from a tournament history standpoint -- couldn't be more diverse. But yet, they're both five seeds, and they're both fighting for their lives. 

See you in the Final Four, fellas. Get some rest. You're going to need it.
Category: NCAAB
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