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Men's College Basketball
Preview
Michigan St vs Louisville
When: 2:20 PM ET, Sunday, March 29, 2015
Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, New York

While other matchups in the Elite Eight feature some of the nation's best players such as Duke's Jahlil Okafor, Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky and Kentucky's litany of future NBA draft picks, the East Regional final features a different kind of star-studded affair. Michigan State's Tom Izzo and Louisville's Rick Pitino are two of the best coaches in the country and after working their March magic yet again, their teams will square off in Syracuse, N.Y., on Sunday for a berth in the Final Four. The fourth-seeded Cardinals and seventh-seeded Spartans are the two lowest-seeded teams remaining in the NCAA Tournament.

After his team knocked off the region's No. 2 and 3 seeds in the last two rounds, Izzo is one win away from his seventh trip to the Final Four - all since 1999. "He is the best at what he does," Spartans guard Lourawls Nairn Jr. told reporters. "We're real confident in whatever he tells us to do. As long as we focus on what he tells us to do, we'll be fine." Regarding Pitino, who has been to seven Final Fours - one with Providence, three with Kentucky and three with Louisville, Cardinals forward Montrezl Harrell told reporters: "Everybody has bought into the mentality that coach wanted and everybody wants the same goal."

TV: 2:20 p.m. ET, CBS

ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (26-11): Travis Trice increased his scoring in all three games of the tournament, going from 15 points in the opener to 23 in an upset of second-seeded Virginia and 24 against Oklahoma, as the senior guard is shooting 10-of-22 from 3-point range in the Big Dance. The Spartans have reached the Elite Eight despite Denzel Valentine shooting 7-of-23 over the last two games and a disappointing team-wide 58.8 free-throw percentage in the tournament. "One more victory would be one of the more sweeter moments of my career," acknowledged Izzo, who is 12-9 in the NCAA Tournament when his team has the lower seed.

ABOUT LOUISVILLE (27-8): The Cardinals dismissed Chris Jones - the team's third-leading scorer - from the team in late February but still are one win from their third Final Four trip in the last four seasons. The catalysts for Pitino's latest magical run have been Terry Rozier, who had 17 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in the Sweet 16, and Harrell, whose 24 points against the Sooners were his most since Feb. 11. "I can't say enough about him because he's the toughest guy I've ever coached and he never lets me down," Pitino said of Harrell, who is 12-of-14 from the foul line in the tournament after shooting 58.3 percent over the first 32 games.

TIP-INS

1. Michigan State upset Louisville in the 2009 Elite Eight 64-52. The winner of the rematch will take on the South Regional champion - Duke or Gonzaga.

2. The Cardinals are 8-0 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field this season.

3. The Spartans are hoping to become the second straight No. 7 seed to win the NCAA Tournament after Connecticut stormed through the field in 2014. Prior to UConn, a No. 7 seed had not made the Final Four since 1984 (Virginia).

PREDICTION: Michigan State 54, Louisville 52
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Neutral Day Night Conf
Michigan St 26-11 W3 12-4 7-4 7-3 8-8 18-3 13-7
Louisville 27-8 W3 15-4 7-3 5-1 7-5 20-3 12-7
Last Meeting
Michigan St Louisville
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
3/22/12 LOU 57 MSU 44 44 32 28.6 57 34 38.2
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Michigan St B. Wood 14 36.4 4
Louisville C. Behanan 15 60.0 3
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Michigan St D. Green 16 1 15
Louisville C. Behanan 9 4 5
Assists Player  
Michigan St K. Appling 4
Louisville P. Siva 9
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Michigan St T. Trice 564 39.7 111
Louisville T. Rozier 602 41.8 138
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Michigan St B. Dawson 300 96 204
Louisville M. Harrell 312 107 205
Assists Player  
Michigan St T. Trice 188
Louisville T. Rozier 105
Quickchart Matchup
Michigan St Off vs  Louisville Defense
71.2 Points For
59.4 Points Against
46.8 FG%
39.0 FG%
34.8 Reb
32.6 Reb
Louisville Off vs  Michigan St Defense
68.9 Points For
63.0 Points Against
43.1 FG%
39.4 FG%
32.6 Reb
28.0 Reb