Rapid Reaction: Duke 71, Michigan State 61
March, 30, 2013
By Dana O'Neil | ESPN.com
INDIANAPOLIS – A quick look at Duke’s 71-61 victory Friday over Michigan State in the Sweet 16:
Overview: The NCAA tournament, coaches like to say, is all about matchups. Duke versus Michigan State was supposed to be about Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee versus Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix.
Except sometimes it’s the matchup you can match up with that means everything.
And the third-seeded Spartans simply couldn’t find anything to match what Seth Curry was doing. The senior scored 29 points, including three consecutive 3-pointers to open the second half and help No. 2 seed Duke blow open what had been a one-point lead at the break.
Michigan State’s Gary Harris had the unenviable job of trying to guard Curry, and whether that demoralized the freshman or merely exhausted him, it didn’t matter. He was as ineffective offensively as Curry was effective.
Turning point: Give it to the beginning of the second half and Curry’s swish-swish-swish. Michigan State (27-9) did manage to close the game to four points midway through, but that cushion gave Duke all the breathing room it needed.
Key player: Really? Yeah, it’s Curry.
Key stat: 6-of-20. That’s what Nix and Payne shot from the floor. So yes, the original matchup wasn’t totally absent here. Duke (30-5) did a terrific job collapsing and frustrating Michigan State’s big men inside.
What's next: Duke will play Louisville in the Elite Eight on Sunday, a rematch of their game in November in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game -- won 76-71 by Duke. It’s the Blue Devils' second regional final since 2010.