Northern Iowa's fun run through the NCAA tourney is over. And it feels like someone punched me in the gut.
When the reality of 59-52 Michigan State set in last night, it was sad.
The dream was over for the Panthers. There will be no Final Four appearance or national championship in 2010. The UNLV and Kansas victories were really longtime memories now.
Things looked promising in the first half as the Panthers took a 29-22 halftime lead.
But in the second half, the sky came down. Northern Iowa couldn't connect on shots including the three ball. Northern Iowa scored just 23 second-half points.
The Panthers finished the game 17-for-44 from the field for just 38.6 per cent. Usual sharp-shooter Ali Farokhmanesh was a mirror of Northern Iowa's problems. He went 2-9 and just 1-6 from the three-point ark. The Panthers normal excellent free throw shooting also left them. They were only 14-21 from the free area.
The Spartans put it into high gear in the second half. They were able to score points from the inside and outside. Plus, they connected on the free throw line. They also benefited from Northern Iowa's turnovers. The Spartan do possess great athletes and it showed in the second half.
So Michigan State goes on to its familiar push for the Final Four. Northern Iowa has memories of what it accomplished in this historic season.
What do you think of the Panther's year?