Marcus Morris had a fine first-round NCAA tournament game against North Dakota State last Friday with eight points, seven rebounds and four assists in 26 minutes, but went scoreless with no rebounds in 14 minutes versus Dayton on Sunday.
The Jayhawks lost at Michigan State, 75-62, on Jan. 10. KU is 7-1 under
Bill Self in the second meeting of the same season after losing the
first matchup. KU's only back-to-back loss to a team during the same
season in the Self era came against Texas (64-60 in Self's first year
at KU on March 13, 2004 ) in the semifinals of the Big 12 Championship.
KU and MSU are tied at 4-4 in the all-time series that began in 1960.
Before this season, the two teams last met at Allen Fieldhouse on Nov.
25, 2003 during Self's first season at Kansas. KU won, 81-74. The
Jayhawks beat the Spartans, 96-86 (OT) in the team's only other Sweet
16 meeting in 1986 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City. Also noteworthy is
the Feb. 4, 1979 game when sophomore Magic Johnson's-led Spartans
whipped KU and soph sensation Darnell Valentine, 85-61 in East Lansing.
Valentine did showcase his talents, though, when he stripped Magic of
the ball once.
Michigan State went on to win the national championship in 1979 in a
historic 75-64 victory over Larry Bird's Indiana State Sycamores. That
Spartans' team will be honored at the Final Four in Detroit during the
United States Basketball Writers Association's annual breakfast awards.
Michigan State led Indiana State 44-28 early in the second half when
star Spartans' forward Greg Kelser picked up his fourth foul. Magic
later picked up his third foul as ISU cut MSU's lead to six. However,
the Spartans broke open the game after a backdoor slam by Johnson and
two free throws. The Magic man led Michigan State with 24 points, while
Bird scored 19, eight below his average.
Like the 1979 team, this current Michigan State squad is a No. 2 seed.
They are the only MSU teams to earn two seeds in the Big Dance. And
like 1979, MSU will play the regional in Indianapolis.
SPARTANS AT THE FINAL FOUR
Michigan State is the only team to have appeared in four of the last 10
Final Fours and just the eighth school in NCAA history to make four
Final Four appearances in any seven-year period. Head coach Tom Izzo is
just the sixth coach in NCAA history to lead a team to four Final Fours
in a seven-year span; the others are John Wooden, Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Denny Crum and Henry Iba. Also, every four-year player
recruited by Izzo has appeared in at least one Final Four before
leaving Michigan State.
Michigan State is 5-0 all-time in NCAA tournament games in
Indianapolis. The Spartans won the 2000 national championship with
victories over Wisconsin and Florida in the RCA Dome.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE
Senior guard Travis Walton became just the third player in Michigan
State history to be voted Defensive Player of the Year (league
coaches). The others are Ken Redfield (1990) and Eric Snow (1995).
ONE OF THE BEST SEASONS
Michigan State's 28 wins are tied for third most in school history with
the 1990 and 2001 squads. The school's top win total is 33 in 1999.
GOOD KU OMEN
March 27 could be a great day to be a Jayhawk. On this date in 1993, KU
came up huge in the NCAA Midwest Regional final against Indiana with an
83-77 victory in St. Louis, Mo. Junior forward Richard Scott led all
five starters in double figures with 16 points. Senior center Eric
Pauley scored 13 points, followed by junior forward Darrin Hancock and
senior guard Rex Walters with 13 each. Senior guard Adonis Jordan
chipped in 11 points. KU advanced to its second Final Four in three
years, where they lost to North Carolina.
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