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Northern Iowa vs. Michigan State
It was the shot heard around the world. It was the shot that allowed Northern Iowa to defeat Kansas in arguably the biggest upset in the history of the NCAA Tournament. That shot was a three pointer by G Ali Farokhmanesh. The senior caught the ball passed up the court to him from a teammate trying to battle the full court press that 2009 AP Coach of the Year Bill Self implored his Jayhawks to use. After catching the ball Farokmanesh stopped to think about taking the shot for a split second. He then delivered the dagger to Kansasís heart by making the shot.
The Panthers are now in the Sweet Sixteen. They will face the Michigan State Spartans who arrive in St. Louis after similar drama. Back up PG Korie Lucious drained a three pointer as time expired to lift his team past the Maryland Terrapins. The Spartans lost their best player, Kalin Lucas, to an injury during the game. He will be out for several months. This game promises to be an exciting matchup between a darling Cinderella team and a banged up but not done contender.
The Northern Iowa Panthers played a superb game against the Kansas Jayhawks. They held senior G Sherron Collins to 10 points on 4-15 shooting. G Ali Farokhmanesh sank 4 of 10 three pointers for a total of 16 points. Farokmanesh also hit a game winning shot in the first round to propel the Panthers past UNLV. 7í 0Ē center Jordan Eglseder was solid with 14 points. He had made two three pointers which is very surprising considering his size.
We always harp on teams that donít make free throws. This game is an excellent example of why you must make them. UNI hit 16 of 19 of their attempts from the charity stripe. While not horrible at 13 of 18, Kansas couldíve won had they made their free throws. Northern Iowa is playing very well and full of confidence. They will give Michigan State everything they want, but they should certainly expect a fight.
The Michigan State Spartans narrowly survived a comeback attempts by the New Mexico State Aggies in the first round. Despite a 10 point half time lead, they allowed the Aggies to tie it up with 5:29 left in the game. With very little time on the clock MSU was up a point with two free throw shots. They made one, but missed another. The officials called a highly questionable lane violation and the Spartans got another shot which they made. That shot put them up by 3 and prevented the Aggies from trying a high percentage shot. Fans of Michigan State arenít unhappy though; a win is a win no matter how you can get it. G Kalin Lucas played great scoring 25 points, but was injured in the Spartans next game.
The Spartans found themselves up 9 points at half time against the Maryland Terrapins in the second round of the Big Dance. The Terps chiseled away at their lead. G Greivis Vasquez hit a floater with 6.6 seconds left to put Maryland ahead. The game appeared to be over until back up PG Korie Lucious hit an improbable three pointer to give MSU the win as time expired. Durrell Summers played great hitting 10 of 14 shots for a career high 26 points. He sank 6 of 8 three pointer attempts.
UNI is currently a 1 point underdog with the money distributed 50/50. They have a great inside presence with their 7í tall center, and great sharpshooters with Farokmanesh, and the Koch brothers. Michigan State is battling injuries and playing without their star PG. It may be too much to overcome. We like the Panthers to win at +1 and march into the Elite Eight.