WHAT IT MEANS: LIU Brooklyn went to Columbus, Ohio, with dreams of becoming the first No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 in the NCAA tournament. The Blackbirds played much better than the final score indicates, but eventually ran out of gas, simply unequipped to deal with the Spartans' size on the front line.
LIU finishes the season at 25-9, and has a lot to be proud of: a second straight Northeast Conference regular season championship, a second straight NEC tournament title, a second straight NCAA tournament appearance -- and the Blackbirds acquitted themselves well both times.
TURNING POINT: LIU hung tough with Michigan State for the entire first half. The Spartans took their largest lead, 42-32, with under two minutes remaining, but the Blackbirds scored the final five points to make it 42-37 at intermission.
LIU was still within 10 points with under 12 minutes left in the game, but that's when Michigan State made its move. A 14-4 run, capped off by a Brandon Wood 3-pointer, made it 74-54 with 8:18 remaining, essentially putting the game out of reach.
KEY PLAYER: Draymond Green showed the country why he was named the Big Ten Player of the Year. Green had his third career triple-double, finishing with 24 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
Jamal Olasewere led three LIU players in double figures with 17 points.
KEY STAT: LIU doesn't start a player taller than 6-foot-7, and the Blackbirds got murdered on the boards. Michigan State outrebounded LIU 42 to 19, including a 15-to-3 advantage on the offensive glass.
The Spartans' two centers, starter Adreian Payne (6-foot-10, 240 pounds) and backup Derrick Nix (6-foot-9, 270 pounds), combined for 34 points and 15 rebounds, shooting 16-for-24 from the field.
WHAT'S NEXT: Michigan State advances to the Round of 32, where it will face No. 9 seed St. Louis on Sunday.
LIU heads back to Brooklyn. Rumors are already flying about head coach Jim Ferry, who could be a hot commodity on the coaching market. But almost all of the key players on this team will be back next season, meaning the Blackbirds should contend for a third consecutive NEC championship.