Also posted at Tripping The Life Fanatic
I know that this missive might be perceived as sour grapes or a fanboy just pissing and moaning but I'm not about objectivity with this one.
I purposefully stay home to peacefully watch the MSU/Wisconsin game and ended watching an unbelievable display of flopping that would make Manu proud and ticky-tack fouls that made me wonder if the officiating team was working a Donaghy angle on the outcome.
Early on, you could see that the officials were imposing their will on the game by reaching for their whistle seemingly every other time Wisconsin brought the ball down court. By the first half, the Spartans had a meager two point lead but also was averaging about a foul a minute. Hmm, you don't think that those early fouls would have an effect on the second half, would ya?
By the time all was said and done, Michigan State held the Badgers to 17 made shots from the floor (37% from the floor, 29.4% from 3-point line), forced 11 turnovers and got 2 blocks while hitting 42% of their shots including being 47% from 3s, and dishing out 10 assists. That's a recipe for success against the very consistent and tough Wisconsin team.
But the Spartans lost dramatically in the one area of the game that they could not control - fouls. Wisconsin only committed 18 total fouls resulting in 19 free throws while Michigan State had four player foul out and had a total of 30 fouls, resulting in 37 free throw attempts. The only reason that the Badgers only won by two was that they were a shade over 70% from the line.
At least the Spartans will get a chance to prove themselves in the NCAA Tourney against a non-Hightower led crew. But for this Big Ten semi-final game against the Badgers, the old witches in Macbeth were right - "Fair is foul and foul is fair".