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March 19, 2012
Green & Co. Marching Forward: Next Stop Louisville
EAST LANSING - By Friday, he had done something only two others had ever done. By Sunday, he was in a category by himself.
In the first two games of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, Draymond Green totaled 40 points, 25 rebounds and 16 assists. Since the NCAA Tournament expanded in 1985, no other player has been able to reach those three numbers in their first two games of an NCAA Tournament.
"I mean, I know Kentucky, I know Kansas, I know the players they got. But if you talk about a guy that does more things, and we don't even get to the leadership stuff because coaches can't, media people voting around the country can't understand that, can't see that. They're not in the places where that happens." - Tom Izzo on Draymond Green's place in the Naismith discussion
OFFICIAL MICHIGAN STATE NOTES
This is MSU's 12th trip to the Sweet 16 since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Michigan State is 7-4 in Sweet 16 games, having won seven of its last eight. Tom Izzo is 7-2 in the Sweet 16.
Since Michigan State's first trip to the NCAA Tournament under Tom Izzo in 1998, the Spartans have advanced to the Sweet 16 10 times in the last 15 years. During that same stretch, only Duke has more Sweet 16 appearances (12), while Kansas and
Kentucky both stand behind MSU with nine trips.
Michigan State's offense has been clicking at a high level in the postseason. In five combined Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament games, the Spartans are averaging 75.8 points, shooting .543 from the field, including .448 from 3-point range. MSU is also recording 15.6 assists per game, compared to just 10.6 turnovers. Through the third round of the NCAA Tournament, MSU leads all tournament teams in field-goal percentage (.570) and ranks fifth in scoring (77.0 ppg).
In the first two games of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, Draymond Green has totaled 40 points (20.0 ppg), 25 rebounds (12.5 rpg) and 16 assists (8.0 apg). Since the NCAA Tournament expanded in 1985, no other player has been able to reach those three numbers in their first two games of an NCAA Tournament.
On Jan. 31, Draymond Green scored five points in 16 minutes, being limited by foul trouble and a late knee injury that appeared to be potentially serious, as MSU fell to Illinois, 42-41. The next day, MSU learned Green's injury was not as serious as originally feared and he vowed to elevate his game. The first game in February was against Michigan, with Green scoring 14 points and grabbing 16 rebounds - the same number as the Wolverines. Since then, Green has played at a high level, averaging 18.6 points and 10.9 rebounds over the last 14 games, scoring in double-figures in every contest. Fellow senior Austin Thornton has also elevated his play, averaging 6.6 points over the last 14 games, connecting on .531 of his 3-pointers.
OFFICIAL LOUISVILLE NOTES
Fourth-seeded Louisville defeated No. 13 seed Davidson in the second round, 69-62, and fifth-seeded New Mexico in the third round, 59-56, to advance to the Sweet 16 for the 18th time in program history. The Cardinals went 10-8 in Big East Conference play to finish seventh, but won four straight to capture the conference tournament.
The Cardinals played 15 teams that earned bids to the 2012 NCAA Tournament, posting an 11-8 record. In non-conference play, Louisville defeated Lamar, Ohio, Long Beach State, Vanderbilt, Memphis and Western Kentucky, and lost to Kentucky. In Big East games, Louisville defeated Connecticut and West Virginia and fell to Syracuse (twice), Georgetown, Notre Dame, Marquette, Cincinnati and South Florida. Louisville defeated three NCAA teams in the Big East Tournament (Marquette, Notre Dame, Cincinnati).
Louisville leads the all-time series against Michigan State, 4-3. The two schools have met twice before in the NCAA Tournament (1959, 2009). In the 1959 Mideast Regional Final in Evanston, Ill., Louisville won, 88-81, despite the Spartans getting 29 points and
23 rebounds from Johnny Green. In the 2009 Midwest Regional Final in Indianapolis, the second-seeded Spartans defeated the top-seeded Cardinals, 64-52, as Tom Izzo advanced to his fifth Final Four. Goran Suton paced the Spartans with 19 points and 10 rebounds, scoring 17 in the first half. Draymond Green was the only player on either current roster to see significant time, recording six points, 10 rebounds and three assists as a freshman. Izzo is 2-1 against Louisville in his career.
Rick Pitino (UMass, '74) is 627-233 (.729) in his 27th year as a college head coach, including 273-105 (.722) in 11 seasons at Louisville. Pitino became the first coach in NCAA history to guide three different schools to the NCAA Final Four when he took the Cardinals in 2005. Pitino has coached five Final Four teams (Providence 1987; Kentucky 1993, 1996 and 1997; Louisville 2005), which ranks fourth among active coaches and tied for eighth all-time, including winning the 1996 NCAA Championship at Kentucky and a runner-up finish in 1997. Pitino is 40-15 in 17 NCAA Tournament appearances.
This is Louisville's 38th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance (62-39 all-time record) ... U of L has won two National Championships (1980, 1986) and been to eight Final Fours ... U of L has limited its opponents to 60 or fewer points in 22 of its 37 outings ... The Cardinals rank in the top five nationally in field-goal percentage defense (.379) ... Louisville also ranks seventh in country with 9.0 steals per game ... Center Gorgui Dieng ranks eighth in the nation in blocked shots (3.1 pg); his 116 blocks this season are a U of L single-season record ... Peyton Siva, the Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player, has already set a Louisville single-season record with 191 assists.
OFFICIAL NCAA TOURNAMENT NOTES
Michigan State is making its 15th straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012. It is the longest current streak among Big Ten schools and third longest in the nation. Only Kansas (23) and Duke (17) have longer current streaks. It is also the second longest streak in Big Ten history. Indiana appeared in 18 consecutive tournaments between 1986 and 2003.
Michigan State is a No. 1 seed for the fifth time in school history (1990, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2012) and the fourth time under Tom Izzo. The Spartans lost to Georgia Tech in overtime (81-80) in the Sweet 16 in 1990, but have advanced to the Final Four
every time they've been a No. 1 seed under Coach Izzo.
Michigan State is making its 26th appearance in the NCAA Tournament with a record of 54-24. MSU has made eight trips to the Final Four (1957, 1979, 1999, 2000,
2001, 2005, 2009, 2010) and captured the NCAA Championship in 1979 and 2000.
Tom Izzo ranks fourth among active coaches for the best NCAA Tournament winning percentage at .740 (37-13). Duke's Mike Krzyzewski ranks first at .767 (79-24), followed by North Carolina's Roy Williams at .759 (60-19), and Florida's Billy Donovan (.750, 27-9). Of those four, Izzo and Krzyzewski are the only coaches to appear in the last 15 NCAA Tournaments.
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is making his 15th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. It's the third longest active streak in the nation, trailing only Mike Krzyzewski and Rick Barnes, whom each are making their 17th straight trip this season. Izzo's streak is the nation's second-longest among coaches at just one school, trailing only Krzyzewski. It equals Bob Knight's 15-straight appearances (1986-2000) as the longest streak in Big Ten history.
Discuss Michigan State's chances against Louisville in the Sweet 16 with other diehard Spartans on SpartanMag's premiere basketball message board, The Final Fourum