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March 22, 2012

Louisville 57, MSU 44: Quick takes

Here's the online gamer. Here are a few quick items of note:

    * Derrick Nix stood up and spoke to the team after the game, somewhat reminiscent of Draymond Green after the 2009 title game loss to UNC. Nix thanked the seniors and vowed to take over for Green as a leader this season.

    * Keith Appling was the most dejected MSU player in the locker room. Bordering on tears often and frequently apologizing to the seniors. Appling did not have a good night on the court, but that's probably what Tom Izzo wanted to see off it. Izzo singled out Appling as the player who needs to grow the most in the offseason.

    * Izzo and Green both said they could tell the team was lacking energy the past two days. Izzo said he almost felt the opposite after this walk-through as he did after the famed 2009 pre-Louisville walk-through. It's not that he knew MSU was going to lose, he said, but he didn't like the feeling he got. The Spartans definitely looked zombie-ish for a lot of this game.

    * But of course, Louisville had a lot to do with that. Izzo and the players said they saw everything on film, but MSU had a hard time simulating it in practice -- those football players could have come in handy. Izzo also said he regrets coming out so early because there was so much "laying around" in the past few days. Izzo tries to get a look at everything in the regular season, but he said he's never seen a team that pressures out of a zone quite like this.

    * Izzo also said Brandan Kearney has been bothered by a knee issue for the past month. Kearney, Russell Byrd, Appling, Nix, Adreian Payne -- lots of big offseasons ahead.

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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter
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