With a berth in the title game on the line, did Tom Izzo opt to go to the wrong man? Let the second-guessing begin, I suppose.
Draymond Green, one of three Spartans who managed to score more than 10 points in Saturday night's game, went at Butler's best player (but not best defender) Gordon Hayward, possibly thinking he could overpower the baby-faced Butler star who grabbed nine rebounds and scored 19 points.
But Green was stymied a few feet from the hoop and forced into a tough shot that received no whistle.
Where was the drawn-up play that called for Durrell Summers or Korie Lucious? Lucious already hit a game-winner for Michigan State this month, and Summers had been lauded all week for his ability to play at the level so many expected from him all season long.
And in case you were wondering, in the post-game presser the media didn't bother to ask Izzo about his play-calling.
Lucious and Summers, who were a combined 9-for-18 from the floor (impressive, considering Butler held MSU to 43 percent shooting as a team) didn't get so much as a glance from Green. His shot was altered by Hayward, and in the ensuring loose-ball fracas, Ronald Nored picked up the garbage. Despite his 61 percent free-throw shooting average, the stalwart sank two freebies to lock up Butler's win.
Izzo was not happy with the no-call. He said, "I thought it was close to a foul" to CBS' Tracy Wolfson outside the locker room, then added, "I felt like I guess I questioned some of the way that last shot went" in the post-game assembly to the media horde.
As for Green?
"Maybe I did get smacked," he said. "But on my behalf, I have to go stronger. I have to go up to finish the shot and get fouled. I mean, the refs didn't make the call. But if we were on the opposite end defending them, and they called the foul, we would be upset, as well."
Nice of Green to own it, at least. There's no guarantee Summers — who was predictably and fantastically hounded by Nored all game — would've gotten a better shot off than Green, and the same could be said for Lucious. But those two have proven their ability to hit some big shots as of late. I'm not questioning Izzo as a coach, only looking at the micro scenario of that play to that player.
One last thing from the Spartans coach, who's catching a little flak on Twitter for complaining about the no-call.
"I was upset about a couple calls, I really was. You know, don't take that away from Butler. Don't take it whining. You asked me a question. I'm giving you a man's answer.
I didn't like some of 'em, especially, you know, late."
- Durrell Summers
- Tom Izzo
- Korie Lucious
- Gordon Hayward