The Michigan State Spartans weren't exactly expected to lay down in front of the Colorado Buffaloes during Friday's first round of the South Regional, but they also weren't expected to outplay, outhustle, and easily handle their Big 12 opponent, either.
The seventh-seeded Spartans cruised to a 79-64 victory Friday evening, playing perhaps their most complete game since a 71-67 win over Kentucky in December.
The Buffaloes entered the contest seeded 10th, but held a seemingly intangible advantage playing in a difficult conference that boasts powerhouses such as Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and others.
However, it was a balanced MSU attack -- both offensively and defensively -- that prevented Colorado from establishing itself.
Michigan State blanketed Colorado early and often defensively, but also ran their offense effectively to create a 44-29 halftime advantage.
The Buffaloes never got closer than 11 in the second half, allowing Michigan State to capture its 20th victory of the season (20-12) and 17th tournament victory for head coach Tom Izzo, who's .81 winning percentage is the highest among active NCAA coaches.
Freshmen Erazem Lorbek and Paul Davis led the Spartans with 17 and 10 points, respectively, while sophomore guards Chris Hill and Alan Anderson committed 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Defensively, Colorado's leading scorer Michel Morandais was held to 15 points, while seven-footer David Harrison scored 13 points.
Michigan State will play the winner of the Florida-Sam Houston State contest on Sunday.