Middle Tennessee Busts Brackets

first_imgST. LOUIS — His voice strained after 40 minutes of yelling, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo remained steadfast that his second-seeded Spartans had the makings of a national championship contender.If only they could have survived Round 1.“We just got beat,” Izzo managed to croak out after a 90-81 loss to No. 15 seed Middle Tennessee State on March 18 ended their pursuit far sooner than expected. “But I want everybody to know this team had a chance to win a national championship. I don’t feel one bit different.”In that case, what does the future hold for the Blue Raiders?Reggie Upshaw had 21 points and Giddy Potts finished with 19 for Middle Tennessee State (25-9), which became the eighth No. 15 seed to knock off a No. 2 since seeding began in 1985. The last time it happened was 2013, when Florida Gulf Coast beat Georgetown on its way to the Sweet 16.The Blue Raiders will try to do the same against No. 10 seed Syracuse on March 20.I’ll be honest with you, in my wildest dreams I didn’t think they’d hit some of the shots they hit,” Izzo said. “We didn’t guard them good, but man, they made some shots.”The Spartans (29-6) were a trendy pick to win it all after capturing the Big Ten Tournament title. Part of it had to do with the experience of Denzel Valentine and the seniors, and part of it had to do with Izzo’s impressive postseason pedigree.The got sent home without ever leading in their only game. “I’m more mad and disappointed because I know what this team could accomplish,” Valentine said. “It kind of fell apart, and it just stinks right now because I know the capability our team had.”The Spartans’ Matt Costello matched a career-best with 22 points, but it wasn’t enough to offset Valentine’s miserable afternoon.The senior had 13 points and 12 assists, but he also had six turnovers — one of them coming with the Spartans trailing 79-76 and less than three minutes to go.Michigan State twice had chances to tie the game after that, but Valentine missed an open 3 from the top of the key, and Bryn Forbes missed another. The Blue Raiders eventually scored on back-to-back runouts to establish some breathing room, then coaxed the final few seconds off the clock.Darnell Harris and Perrin Buford scored 15 apiece, and Jaqawn Raymond had 11, as the Conference USA champion Blue Raiders won their first NCAA Tournament game since 1989.Not that they haven’t made a statement before: They beat Kentucky in the first round in 1982.“We wanted to win this game as bad as anybody wanted us to win,” Potts said.The Blue Raiders never seemed intimidated by the Spartans, roaring to a 15-2 advantage in the opening minutes and slowly getting the Syracuse and Dayton fans in the building on their side.Michigan State chipped away at its deficit but never managed to make an extended run. Valentine was saddled with two fouls and rendered ineffective most of the way, and the backcourt of Forbes and Eron Harris combined for four turnovers while managing a single point in the first half.Valentine’s frustration reached its apex after he committed back-to-back turnovers in the second half. During a stoppage in play and with the Blue Raiders leading 51-43, Valentine stalked back to his team’s huddle and proceeded to slam his hand into the floor.Michigan State slowly trimmed the lead to 65-64 on a basket by Costello with eight minutes to play, but the Blue Raiders scored on their next six trips down floor to hold their lead.They held onto it the rest of the way, too. It was the first time the Spartans, heavily favored to reach the Final Four, were bounced from the tournament in the first round since 2011.“There’s such great college stories this time of year, every year,” Blue Raiders coach Kermit Davis said. “We looked at it and said, ‘Guys, why not Middle Tennessee?’ It’s going to be something after this weekend. Everybody is going to have a great, great moment — a great weekend.”(DAVE SKRETTA, AP Sports Writer) TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Rafael Nadal rides a bike to go grocery shopping. Watch video

first_imgWorld No.1 Rafael Nadal is not only busy brushing aside his opponents at the Wimbledon but he also makes sure he buys groceries before heading home from the All England Club.Nadal was spotted buying groceries from a posh market in south-west London on Tuesday after outclassing his first-round opponent Dudi Sela 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.According to a report in Daily Mail, Nadal some vegetables and meat at Bayley and Sage. The store in south west London is said be one of most expensive ones, where a tomato can cost as much as 2 pound each while a loaves of bread can cost 4 pound each.”Very happy with the win today and after the match, before going home, a bit of groceries…. @wimbledon #groceries,” Nadal posted a few pictures on Instagram.Two days later, US Open Tennis Championships posted a video on Facebook in which Nadal was seen riding a bike to go grocery shopping.”When you’ve won 17 Grand Slams, but they still won’t let you take the car to go grocery shopping… ????”On Saturday, the two-time Wimbledon champion completed a hat-trick of straight-set wins to reach the fourth round.The Alicante-based 19-year-old played his part in an entertaining duel as he chased after everything Nadal could throw at him – and in turn kept the Spaniard on Centre Court longer than he would have liked.advertisementBut the world number one, chasing a third title at the All England Club, stuck to his own game plan to ensure he reached the second week of the grasscourt major without dropping a set.Nadal has endured his fair share of losing to young upstarts at Wimbledon, having lost to players ranked 100 or lower in four of his five previous appearances, but there was no danger of that happening on Saturday.His main target appeared to be getting off court before the 3pm local time kickoff of England’s World Cup quarter-final showdown with Sweden.De Minaur made him play 26-minutes of extra time but the final result was never in doubt and a lunging volley winner sealed the win – and prompted a mass exodus from Centre Court as fans rushed to watch the football World Cup 2018 quarter-final between England and Sweden on their phones and tablets elsewhere in the grounds. England won 2-0 and booked a place in the semi-finals for the first time in 28 years.The Spaniard will next play Jiri Vesely from the Czech Republic as he bids to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time since finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic in 2011.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img read more

Arsenal striker Lacazette eager to move past last season’s struggles

first_imgArsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette says he’s not bothered by his critics as he prepares to improve his goal tally at the club.The French striker was heavily criticised by a section of pundits and fans for an underwhelming campaign in his debut season at Arsenal. The former Lyon player who joined the London club last season for a club record fee, scored 17 goals in 39 matches across all competitions.”I don’t care how people judge me,” Lacazette told Football London. “I know if I stay in Arsenal the club is happy and my team-mates as well. This is the most important thing.”It (last season) has finished and for me it’s the past. OK, when I didn’t score, of course I was frustrated but it’s finished. It was my first season so I can’t be too hard on myself, even if I wanted to score more goals.”I’ve learned from this and now I am happy to start a new season.”Arsenal recruited Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund in January, with many seeing the move as an indication of Lacazette’s poor form, but the 27-year-old has dismissed the notion and denies a rivalry with his fellow forward.”I never said it (Aubameyang’s arrival) was bad for me, only people in the press said it was bad,” Lacazette he said. “I was happy because I knew I could play with him.”I didn’t see him as a rival, more like a team-mate, so since the beginning I was happy about his signature.”advertisementBoth Lacazette and Aubameyang have impressed for Arsenal in pre-season and will be hoping to continue their form as the north London outfit host champions Manchester City in their opening league match on August 12.(With Reuters inputs)last_img read more