March Madness Rematch Sets Up Epic Conclusion

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After an intense finish in their Elite Eight match last year, Michigan State and Louisville are both ready to square off in round two. Unlike in the previous matchup, both teams come into the showdown undefeated, as the No. 3 Michigan State Spartans (7-0) welcome the No. 24 Louisville Cardinals (5-0) to the Breslin Center on Wednesday night.

There isn’t much at stake in this year’s battle compared to their prior meeting, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be a disappointment. Both teams are representing their respective conferences in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, which is always satisfying to win.

This game may also provide a sign of things to come for both squads in the later stages of the season. A win will continue to be undefeated and to generate momentum as the season progresses.

Louisville is putting up impressive numbers, as they are scoring nearly 85 points per game while only surrendering 51.2 PPG. Their best win this season was their most recent game, taking down Saint Louis University, 77-57.

Michigan State is in the same ballpark as Louisville in terms of stats, putting up 85 PPG and yielding 62.5 PPG. The Spartans’ most notable win came early in the season, as they stormed back to beat Kansas, 79-73.

Despite key losses last year for both teams, Michigan State and Louisville run deep, but in different ways.

MSU’s strong suit is lighting up the scoreboard, as freshman sensations Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid are dangerous scoring threats coming off the bench.

On the other hand, the Cardinals heavily rely on their defense to propel them to victory. Chinanu Onuaku and Mangok Mathiang serve as the heart and soul of the defense, as they dominate opponents on the interior day in and day out.

The main key to watch out for is the big boy matchup. Onuaku and Mathiang are forces to reckon with, especially on defense. Deyonta Davis was named Big Ten Freshman of the week recently because of his ability of overpower in the paint and his scoring performance (24 for 30 last week). Matt Costello, who has been struggling as of late, needs to step up big time, knowing that Davis can’t handle this daunting task by himself.
Last year’s game resulted in a 76-70 overtime thriller for Michigan State, which advanced the Spartans to the Final Four for the first time since 2010. Louisville is seeking for redemption, while MSU is determined to protect their house as well as focusing on further riding their early and promising momentum. Knowing that the potential for both clubs is sky high, this rematch should be another exciting finish