In one of the worst offensive performances in the NCAA tournament, the UConn Huskies defeated the Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans were highly favored coming into the Elite Eight match-up, and many people thought that they had what it takes to win the championship.
The Spartans struggled to score throughout the game, and ended the game with only 54 points, and 3 of those points came from a desperation three-pointer as the clock expired. The Huskies won the game 60-54, and the Spartans struggled throughout the game, only scoring 25 points in the first half.
While the first half was incredibly to watch for Spartan fans, the second half did not prove to be much different, and they clearly did not have the desire to win. UConn, on the other hand, continued to fight, and saw big performances from each of their top players.
UConn had troubles of its own, but also had help from an impressive performance from their veteran guard Shabazz Napier. The location also helped the Huskies, as they were almost playing a home game at Madison Square Garden.
Michigan State ran onto court at the Garden and it sounded like Ann Arbor. Big UConn home-court advantage.
— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) March 30, 2014
Can't believe UConn beat Michigan State! Napier is one heck of a player #Naismith
— Christopher Bradshaw (@chris_bradshaw1) March 31, 2014
Napier helped UConn to a Final Four through his physical play, and an impressive offensive performance, which included 25 points. 17 of Napier's points came in the second half, and like Kemba Walker did 4 years ago, he came up with some clutch shots in a big game.
It is always hard to admit after a tough loss, but as a legendary coach, Tom Izzo spoke about the game and said "We got what we deserved today. I tried to tell these guys that, when you get to the tournament, you got to bring it every second. And today Connecticut did, and we just kind of weren't as good as we have been."
Michigan State was picked by a number of fans and experts, and even President Obama, to win the championship, but they ended up falling short of the Final Four. Perhaps all of the hype simply caught up to them, but the Huskies simply outplayed the Spartans today, and MSU turned it over many times, while continually missing their shots.
Tom Izzo has had a lot of incredible runs in the NCAA tournament, and continues to take his teams to the Final Four, as this now makes the current seniors the first four-year players recruited by Tom Izzo to fail to make a Final Four.
Keith Appling and Adreian Payne were the two seniors who had worked four years for this moment, and while Payne still had a decent game, Appling only scored 2 points, and fouled out. Everyone struggled from the field, and while Dawson had just five points, Trice was unable to score.
UConn truly fought harder as a team today, and while both teams struggled in the first half, the Huskies came away with the win at the end. The Huskies will play against Florida in their Final Four match-up, and an important thing to note going into the game is that the last time Florida lost was when they played against UConn.
The UConn Huskies will be seeking their fourth national championship next Saturday. Can they beat the Florida Gators again, and break their 30-game win streak?
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