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Michigan State 64, Louisville 52: Michigan State headed back to the Final Four

BY MICHAEL MAROT, AP Sports Writer Published: March 30, 2009
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INDIANAPOLIS — Michigan State is marching on to Motown.

The Spartans gave the Final Four a hometown feel, stopping overall No. 1 seed Louisville 64-52 on Sunday to win the Midwest Regional.

Goran Suton had 19 points and 10 rebounds as the second-seeded Spartans (30-6) reached their fifth Final Four in 11 years — the most trips of any team in the nation during that span.

Only 90 miles from their campus in East Lansing, the Spartans will play Connecticut on Saturday at Ford Field in Detroit. A crowd of 72,000, the largest ever for college basketball’s signature event, is expected for each game.

"Detroit, here we come,” said coach Tom Izzo, a Michigan native. "I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to that.”

The Spartans made it 30 years after Magic Johnson led them to a national title over Larry Bird and Indiana State.

"Detroit needs something, Michigan needs something to feel good about,” said Johnson, who was at the game. "And right now, the whole state is feeling good about this Michigan State team.”

Along with advancing, the Spartans prevented a Big East blitz in the Final Four — Louisville (31-6) was trying to become the third school from the power-packed conference to make it.

The Cardinals scored 103 points in overwhelming Arizona in the regional semifinals, but barely reached half that total against a rugged, defensive-minded squad. Earl Clark scored 19 points, but coach Rick Pitino’s team played without the precision or passion it had Friday night.

Louisville lost for the first time in 14 games.