On paper, a No. 7 seed vs a No. 10 seed is one of the best matchups that first round of the NCAA Tournament can provide. On Friday, Michigan State and Davidson delivered.
It was a close game throughout. But Tyson Walker knocked down a pair of free throws in the final seconds to give the Spartans a four-point lead. The Wildcats responded with a three-pointer Hyunjung Lee to cut the deficit. But when Michigan State got the ensuing inbounds pass in safely, the game was over and the Spartans survived with a 74-73 win.
Michigan State holds off Davidson! #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/cbjIVc1ADv
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) March 19, 2022
VICTORY FOR MSU pic.twitter.com/4OH6n0hORW
— Michigan State Men's Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) March 19, 2022
The response to the game was positive throughout.
Michigan State/Davidson has been a good time.
— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) March 19, 2022
A super performance by Joey Hauser is the reason @MSU_Basketball was able to SURVIVE & ADVANCE vs a tough @DavidsonMBB team. Hauser was a difference maker making big shots & free throws . He had 27 / now it will be MSU vs @DukeMBB a sexy matchup.
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) March 19, 2022
Joey Hauser shot the ball with so much confidence and led Michigan State to a 74-73 victory scoring 27 points and grabbing 8 rebounds! A.J. Hoggard added 14 points and Brown had 12!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) March 19, 2022
While the game itself drew a positive reaction, one element of it did not. The referees seemed to take the game over in the final minutes, generally doing so in the favor of Michigan State. That did not go unnoticed.
The refs have been very questionable at the end of this Davidson and Michigan State game!
— Tanner Barth (@tanner_barth) March 19, 2022
These MSU Davidson refs 👎🏼👎🏼
— Kyle J Guy (@kylejguy) March 19, 2022
The refs just turned a Michigan State blocking foul, a jump ball, and a kicked ball into 3 Davidson fouls. Pathetic.
— Seth Sommerfeld (@sethsommerfeld) March 19, 2022
The refs in this Davidson-Michigan State game pic.twitter.com/Ndb6kGFUWj
— Alex Gelhar (@AlexGelhar) March 19, 2022
Glad the refs could tilt this game for lovable underdog Michigan State over notable powerhouse Davidson
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) March 19, 2022
Feel terrible for Davidson. Refs really doing their best to hand this game to Michigan State. That charge was bananas — he was either inside the arc or still moving! Pick either, but neither is a charge.
— Tom Pacyk (@tompacyk) March 19, 2022
Refs are really killing what had been a fun Davidson-Michigan State game
— Alex Rikleen (@Rikleen) March 19, 2022
After an extensive review, we have decided Duke-Michigan State would clearly be a huge ratings draw
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) March 19, 2022
Alright refs we know what you are doing. 5 straight foul calls in 2 possessions. Clearly wanted Michigan State vs Duke in Coach K’s last year.
— JAKE ELLENBOGEN (@JKBOGEN) March 19, 2022
Michigan State’s win did indeed set up a second-round matchup with No. 2 Duke. That game will pit two historic powerhouse programs against each other and will have two of the greatest coaches in college basketball history — Tom Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski — matching wits one final time.
Several viewers were excited about that matchup.
Spartan fans were disappointed Michigan State and Duke didn’t meet at Breslin this year. It’s only fitting for K’s farewell season to include Izzo.
— Brandon Champion (@BrandonthaChamp) March 19, 2022
Duke Michigan State once again. Let’s do it. pic.twitter.com/T0kaQzYDOv
— Zion. O (@DukeNBA) March 19, 2022
It was always gonna be Duke vs Michigan State
— Duke Update (@UpdateDuke) March 19, 2022
That’s a matchup that will no doubt have a lot of eyeballs on it. We can only hope the officiating is a little less prevalent during that game — as well as all others remaining.