With No. 1 seed Michigan State getting upset by No. 4 seed Louisville 57-44 in the semifinals of the West Region, Draymond Green’s basketball career will come to an end.
Plenty of words have been written this week about Green’s leadership and what he means to this Michigan State basketball team (personally, my favorite is this from Jeff Passan), but I would be remiss if I didn’t say that college basketball will be worse off without him. Green is a rare breed in that he’s just as much of a role model off the court as he is on one.
There is a reason that he was so popular among sportswriters.
But Green is no more for the collegiate ranks, as Michigan State became the first No. 1 seed to go down this season.
This also happens to be the first time that Michigan State failed to make the Final Four as a one seed in Izzo’s tenure, winning the national title in 2000 and reaching the Final Four in 1999 and 2001. When heading into the tournament as a No. 1 or a No. 2 seed, Michigan State has never lost to a team seeded lower than a two.
In fact, there may be an argument that this loss was the biggest upset of Tom Izzo’s tournament career, unless you consider their loss as a No. 6 seed to No. 11 George Mason in 2006, the year the Patriots made it to the Final Four, a bigger upset. Izzo has made it to the NCAA tournament 14 times as the head coach of Michigan State. He’s lost to a team that made the Final Four ten of those trips.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.
For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.
On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.
Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.
Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.
In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.
As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.
(More to come from Chapel Hill…)
North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.
(H/T: The Cauldron)