For the 16th time in school history, the Michigan State Spartans advance to the Sweet 16.
MSU (29-7 overall) topped Saint Louis (26-8), 65-61, in the third round of the NCAA Tournament and will play Louisville on Thursday in Phoenix. The time has not been established for Thursday’s game.
The win was ugly and Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus set back college basketball 30 years with the slow-em-down, ugly-it-up style. But it was just like playing a Big Ten game against Wisconsin, so it was nothing new for Michigan State.
It wasn’t really that close of a game, but it got close in the final few minutes.
Saint Louis cut the Spartan lead to two points, 53-51, with 3 minutes to play in the game.
With 1:37 to play, though, Keith Appling, who has struggled from the 3-point line much of the season, knocked home a 3-ball to give the Spartans a seven-point cushion.
Appling went for a game-high 19 points while Draymond Green had his usual 16 points and 13 rebounds.
After the 3-pointer by Green, the Billikins played the foul game, to try to cut the lead. It didn’t work as MSU made critical free throws to keep the Billikens at bay.
The Spartans were the fourth Big Ten team to make the Sweet 16, joining Ohio State, Indiana and Wisconsin.