by David Cassilo / @dcassilo
The first No. 1 seed fell on Thursday night as Louisville knocked off Michigan State, 57-44. The Cardinals are now one win away from their ninth Final Four.
Louisville, who avenged a 2009 Elite Eight loss to Michigan State, was able to stop the Spartans thanks to its pressure defense. Michigan State shot just 28.6 percent from the field, and the 44 points it scored were the second lowest total the team had all year.
On offense, it was freshman forward Chane Behanan who led the way for the Cardinals. Behanan, who has been a contributor since day one in Louisville, tallied 15 points and nine rebounds. He’s scored in double figures in all three tournament games.
While Behanan excelled, no one on Michigan State could match the performance.
From the Detroit Free Press:
“Nobody played well,” said Tom Izzo, assessing the remains of the Spartans’ 57-44 loss to the No. 4 seed Cardinals. “Give them credit for playing a great game, but we have to share some of the blame as well. We could never afford to play a game when we weren’t at a high level of intensity. But it happened here, and we have to face the consequences.”
Louisville will now face Florida in the Elite Eight. The obvious connection between the two teams is that Louisville’s Rick Pitino used to coach Florida’s Billy Donovan at Providence. The two reached the Final Four together 25 years ago.