Many MSU fans must have felt like it was poetic justice that Joanne P. McCallie's last memory of the Breslin Center will not be her hasty departure two years ago for her dream job at Duke. They'll think about her trudging off the floor after her team's stunning 63-49 Tuesday night loss to Michigan State. Hard to believe for her or anyone else that Duke missed its last 17 field goal attempts and only scored two free throws in the final 7 1/2 minutes.
As Suzy Merchant told me she had players do things in the game positively that she has not seen from them all season long. She had no way to believe her Spartans could finish the job down the stretch when the game was tied 47-47 at the four minute mark. But everything went MSU's way down the stretch to a wildly cheering crowd of 5,000.
Now can MSU regroup and fly 3,000 miles for the next game? No easy task. The MSU players hit the zenith Tuesday night. But now they play again and they'll have another tough task against 5th seed Iowa State, a team with a 26-8 record after an easy win over Ball State. And Ball State had just knocked out Tennessee. The Spartans are now 22-10 and are two wins from the Final Four. They may well not make it but at least they made the program's third Sweet 16 in school history and to do it against a big time team with a coach who left them has to feel good. It sure did for a number of MSU's fans.