NCAA Second Round
If Long Island University wanted to prove to the nation that they belonged in the dance, as both a team and a program then this game should be called an EPIC FAILURE.Â Talking trash about the MSU basketball team and their assessment of them as, â€œHeavy set,â€ was both ignorant on behalf of the players, and foolish of the coach who allowed it to go on.
As the Spartans headed to the locker room at halftime, they were up on the scoreboard and the trash talking didnâ€™t stop, it just intensified.Â The LIU players were telling the Spartans, â€œYou are only up five and youâ€™re a one seed? Â Weâ€™re gonna kick youâ€™re [butt],â€ among other pleasantries.
That only fueled the Spartans and made the beat down imminent.Â Tom Izzo had graciously taken out Draymond Green in the first half when he got one foul.Â Had he left him in the lead could have ballooned to twenty.Â There would be no kindness in the second half.
The Spartans had used the comments by LIU prior to the game as motivation and the trash talking on the way to the locker room only threw gas on the burning Spartan fire.
In fact long after the game was settled Izzo left Green in to garner his second straight NCAA tournament triple double.Â Green finished the game with 12 rebounds, 24 points and 10 assists.Â Â With that performance Green joined Oscar Robertson (4) and Earvin â€œMAGICâ€ Johnson (2) among basketballâ€™s immortals.Â They are the only players to EVER have multiple triple doubles in NCAA tournament history.
The usually humble Green said of his achievement, â€œAt the end of the day I'd much rather have a win than a tripleâ€‘double, because when you look at those record books it's going to say Draymond Green stats tripleâ€‘double and then it's going to say the score of the game.Â And the last one was a loss and this one was a win.â€
Izzo was much more verbose about Greenâ€™s accomplishment.Â He said of Day Day joining Robertson and Magic among the basketball elite, â€œWell, it's funny.Â I talked to Earvin this week.Â In fact, he talked to Dayâ€‘Day.Â Dayâ€‘Day was in my office and I talked to Earvin about his show that was on.Â We were talking.Â I said Draymond's here, why don't you talk to him.Â I don't know what he said to him, but it might have been something good.Â I might have to call him back.
Normally you don't care about stats.Â Dwayne Stephens told me with three minutes, four minutes left, whatever, he's one shy.Â And I said, just like with Cleaves, I think guys that have a chance to do something that leaves a mark deserves the opportunity.Â And so I told him he's got one shot.Â And that was the shot.
I was just pleased with Draymond.Â I didn't think he started out good.Â We wanted to go inside, and I think he realized he took a couple of shots.Â They weren't bad shots.Â They just weren't what we wanted to do.
Boy, when he settled down, he must have hit 10 out of his next 14shots because I think he was 0 for 3 or 0 for 4 early and the rebounding he does, you know, it was phenomenal.
So I'm proud of Dayâ€‘Day.Â I'm pleased for him.Â Happy for him.Â And yet he's got a lot of basketball to go.Â So if he's worried about getting Nix a big head, I'm going to worry about giving him one, so I'm done sugarcoating anything for him anymore.â€
So with another great accomplishment out of the way the Spartans fulfill Izzoâ€™s every March hope, dream and plan:Â survive and advance.Â With losses by Memphis and Missouri once again the road to Houston and Tom Izzoâ€™s seventh Final Four seems paved for them.Â Paved maybe, but it still has to be driven.
Normally beating a #16 seed is not a memorable game.Â I can guarantee you this.Â Twenty years from now when this team returns to the Breslin Center for a reunion this will be a game they talk about.Â They wonâ€™t forget the trash talking and they wonâ€™t forget the butt whipping then handed out.Â All in all this was a great win.Â
Now bring on the Billikens of Saint Louis.