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Connecticut 60, MSU 54: Season Over

Now we are so unhappy we do the dance of pain!

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

For the third consecutive season, MSU exits the NCAA tournament with a whimper.  Connecticut rode stifling interior defense, MSU turnovers (many of which were forced), and nearly-flawless free throw shooting to a Final Four berth.  For MSU, it's a devastatingly disappointing end, less because it actually happened and more because of how it happened.  Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson were unable to establish any presence down low, and MSU scored a grand total of six points in the paint.  (Their previous low in the past three seasons was the Sweet Sixteen loss to Louisville in 2012, and even then, MSU scored 14 points.)

Gary Harris's three point shooting kept MSU in the game, in what was likely his last game as a Spartan.  Payne was hot early from three, but cooled down significantly as the game wore on.  Denzel Valentine scored nine, but turned the ball over four times.  Harris, Payne, and Valentine were the only three Spartans with more than five points.  Dawson was excellent on defense but struggled to score against UCONN's tall frontcourt.  Keith Appling concluded a career to remember, but a season to forget, with a game to forget, fouling out with two points and four turnovers.

It's a bitter way to end the season for a team that showed flashes of greatness all season long, but which will now likely be remembered more for what could have been than for what actually was.  Pour one out in the comments.