The first No. 1 has fallen.
With Louisville native Muhammad Ali watching from the stands, the fourth-seeded Cardinals delivered a resounding knockout of Big Ten champion Michigan State, winning 57-44 in a Sweet 16 game in Phoenix. The Spartans became the first No. 1 seed to be eliminated from the 2012 tournament.
Louisville barely shot 30 percent from the floor and almost made as many 3-pointers (nine) as it did 2-point field goals (12), but took advantage of equally poor shooting by Michigan State. Tom Izzo's team was a woeful 23 percent from the field and had more turnovers than field goals.
It was a disappointing final game for Spartans star Draymond Green. The senior All-American was 1-9 from beyond the arc and scored 13 points in a losing effort.
Louisville was led by Chane Behanan's 15 points. Despite their poor shooting, the Cardinals were never threatened in the second half. Michigan State had a chance to cut the lead to six points on a possession late in the game, but another stellar defensive turn by Gorgui Dieng ended the Spartans' hopes.
Rick Pitino was coaching in his 10th Sweet 16 game. His teams had won in each of his nine previous appearances.
Death, taxes and Pitino in the regional semifinals.
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