Rushed Reaction: #1 Michigan State 65, #9 Saint Louis 61Posted by WCarey on March 18th, 2012
Three Key Takeaways.
- Draymond Green is still the man. The senior do-everything man for Michigan State put up another terrific performance with 16 points, 13 rebounds, and six steals. In such a close game, the Spartans needed every one of those contributions from Green. Green was in such control for Michigan State that there were times late in the game during Saint Louis’ furious comeback that he was running the point for the Spartans. He is one of those special talents who can lead Michigan State all the way to the Final Four and beyond.
- Keith Appling is capable of making huge plays from the guard position. Amidst the furious Saint Louis rally with Michigan State’s lead cut to just four, Appling nailed a huge three-pointer from the corner with just 1:37 remaining on the clock. After that three, Saint Louis realistically only had a fighter’s chance of getting back into this one. The sophomore guard finished with a game-high 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting.
- This is not the last we will hear from Saint Louis. Saint Louis is a very well-coached team who returns every contributor but leading scorer Brian Conklin. Starters Kwamain Mitchell, Mike McCall, Jr., Dwayne Evans, and Rob Loe return next season for the Billikens. Key bench guys Cody Ellis, Jordair Jett, and Cory Remekun also return to build on this year’s 26-8 campaign. Rick Majerus‘ squad plays a tough-nosed style of play and will definitely be a major player in the Atlantic 10 next season.
Star of the Game. Draymond Green, Michigan State. The senior had another impressive performance here, accumulating 16 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists. Throughout the game it was more than clear that Green was the best player on the floor. Green really is a do-everything guy for Michigan State and that was more than evident again today.
Quotable. “We had to work today.” – Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo. Saint Louis gave the Spartans a very tough fight all afternoon and the outcome was in question until the final minutes.
Sights & Sounds. Seeing a Saint Louis fan play a trumpet in the stands was really a sight to be had. I have never seen something like that at a basketball game before and I really wonder how he got that trumpet into the arena. Nevertheless, it was definitely a fun sight.
Wild Card. It was definitely tough seeing how emotional both Rick Majerus and Brian Conklin were at the postgame press conference. It was obvious to everyone in the room just how much those two care for each other. Conklin seems like a first-class kid and definitely someone the Billikens will miss next season.
What’s Next. Michigan State moves on to the Sweet Sixteen where it will face Louisville in a matchup of two legendary coaches in Phoenix. Expect a hard-fought, gritty, sometimes-ugly style of basketball to be played with the deserving winner one step from the Final Four.