Mar 16, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Michigan State Spartans forward Draymond Green (23) in the game against the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds during the second round in the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
Two of college basketball's top coaches will face off on Thursday night when Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans play Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals for the right to advance past the Sweet 16 of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
The Michigan St. Spartans earned the last No. 1 seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, but had to survive a slight scare from the Saint Louis Billikens on Sunday in order to get to the Sweet 16. It doesn't get any easier for Tom Izzo's squad, as they face Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals for the chance to advance to the Elite Eight.
The game featuring two of college basketball's best coaches is scheduled for a 7:47 p.m. start time Thursday night on TBS in lovely Phoenix, Ariz.
The Spartans will likely once again be led by senior Draymond Green, as the 6'7 forward averaged 16.1 points and 10.4 rebounds this season. It was sophomore guard Keith Appling who came up big in the team's last game, however, scoring a game-high 19 points and knocking down a crucial three-pointer to cement the team's win over the Billikens.
Louisville barely escaped the New Mexico Lobos to advance to this point with a 59-56 victory last weekend. The unlikely hero in that game was backup Russ Smith as he hit all three of his three-point attempts on the way to 17 points, but Kyle Kuric and Peyton Siva will need to combine for more than 16 points if the Cardinals are going to have a chance on Thursday night.
For more on the 2012 NCAA Tournament bracket, stick around SB Nation's NCAA Tournament hub. There you'll find a complete printable NCAA Tournament bracket and tons of analysis on who was snubbed, who got the best bracket and who will make it all the way to New Orleans and the Final Four.