The UConn Huskies were built on toughness -- mental and physical. They won 31 games this season because they battled 40 minutes a game, but on Saturday, Michigan State beat Connecticut 82-73 to advance to the NCAA championship game.
Raymar Morgan grinned and lifted his right arm high in the air, saluting a stadium filled with Michigan State fans with a little wave. The Spartans promised their downtrodden state something good, and boy, did they deliver.
Morgan broke out of his late-season slump with 18 points, Kalin Lucas added 21 and the smaller Spartans ran roughshod over Hasheem Thabeet and Connecticut in an 82-73 upset in the Final Four on Saturday night.
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The Spartans will play the winner of Villanova-North Carolina for the NCAA title Monday night, a much-needed boost for a city and state hit harder than most by the economic crisis.
It's Michigan State's first appearance in the title game since 2000, when the Spartans won their second title.