The impossible run sputtered to a halt Saturday night as Michigan State fell to Duke.
Disappointment and pride intermingled that night amongst players and fans – disappointment at the loss and pride at having fought their way to the Final Four.
The Spartans started Saturday’s game with promise. They led Duke 14-6 within the first four minutes. Then, however, the streak ended.
Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon noted that the Spartans sunk four three-point shots in a row.
“That’s very hard to maintain,” he said.
Soon enough, the Spartans appeared to be having some trouble, like inbounding, turnovers and sloppy passing.
“Two issues there: One is that this Michigan State team probably got as much out of its talent as you possibly could,” Bacon said. “It was an overachieving team and it kind of got proven out that night. Second of all, look, when your offense is not working, usually the other team’s defense has got something to do with that.”
Bacon noted that Duke is a talented team, a team likely to come out as the winners of the March Madness tournament tonight.
“So, simply enough, they had more talent than Michigan State,” he said.
Regardless, Bacon acknowledged it’s important for fans to understand that achieving Final Four status is huge. Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo has been to seven Final Fours.
“That’s an incredible run,” he said. “These guys, in fact, they should not have been there and they got there and they beat some very good teams on the way. So this team should not look back with any real regrets.”
As for next season, Bacon has hope. He said both Izzo and University of Michigan Coach John Beilein are talented coaches who allow their players equal opportunity to step up and be successful players.
“You don’t know who’s going to step up until they do,” Bacon said. “Leave it open, don’t play favorites, don’t promise playing time. Somebody will step up. Look, Izzo has been to 18 straight NCAA tournaments. If he can get these guys to the Final Four, he can get the next guys to the Final Four.”