March 30, 2013

What went wrong? It started with a senior

INDIANAPOLIS - Tom Izzo's belief that there are few substitutes for seniors was strengthened during Michigan State's 71-61 loss to Duke in the Midwest Regional Semifinals, Friday night.

Duke's three seniors ranged from good to outstanding. Izzo's one senior got into foul trouble. Izzo's key freshman, Gary Harris, struggled.

And the Spartans go home with a Sweet 16 loss for the second straight year. And Steven Izzo's Midwestern bracket remains clean.

Izzo mentioned three or four times during post-game interviews that the smartest guy in the building was his son Steven, who picked Duke to win this game.

"When I asked Steven why, he said 'They have three seniors,'" Izzo said.

Izzo recalled his son's wisdom when outside the locker room at Lucas Oil Stadium, following this game. "Steven knew what he was talking about," Izzo said.

He learned from his dad.

Duke senior shooting guard Seth Curry went on a legendary hot streak midway through the game, nailing six of his first seven 3-pointers. He finished with 29 points, including 6-of-9 from 3-point range.

Curry didn't stay crazy hot for the entire 40 minutes. If he had, this might have been a blowout. Instead, MSU remained within striking distance, but never struck. And Curry's mid-game run remained the difference.

"There is no doubt that he single-handedly beat us," Izzo said of Curry. "When you look at all the other guys, we did a pretty good defensively.

"He did a job on Harris. We got a little hesitant on how to guard him. I think Harris is one of the best defenders we've got, but Curry did a great job of coming off those screens. He stops, he pops."

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