Despite their appearance, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said his group hasn't been quite as physical as he'd like this season, and he has worries of his own in the form of the 2-3 zone and SU's unprecedented length. Michigan State took a school record 37 shots beyond the arc, making just eight. If Izzo can help the Spartans beat Syracuse, he'll move into a sixth-place tie with Jim Calhoun behind Rick Pitino, Boeheim, Dean Smith, Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski.
Next up in the way of that tournament run is the Syracuse Orange, who advanced by upsetting TCU in the 6-11 game in the Friday nightcap at Little Caesars Arena. Michigan State has an 11-man rotation.
As the season has gone on, many pundits have wondered about the Michigan State rotation and it's depth.
In a game that got chippy at times, particularly in the second half, the Spartans showed their longtime coach some toughness.
Paschal Chukwu connected on one free throw with 2.4 seconds left and the miss gave Michigan State a chance to win in dramatic fashion, but Winston couldn't make a long shot to be hailed in his hometown.More news: ATP Indian Wells: Del Potro roars past Raonic to set Federer clash
Syracuse took the lead for the first time in the second half with 4:22 left.
Bridges' college career likely is ending with a performance he would like to forget. I've known him ... probably close to 40 years now. Will a heavily pro-Michigan State crowd be the difference? The sophomore star, who turned down a chance to go pro previous year, was held scoreless for much of the first half and finished with 11 points on 4 of 18 shooting, making just 3 of 12 shots. The 7-foot-2, 290-pound center was ruled out for the rest of the NCAA Tournament after being hurt Friday night in a win over Cal State Fullerton, but he warmed up and looked like he was trying to play against the Bulldogs. Syracuse was outstanding on the defensive end against the high-scoring Horned Frogs and pulled away late after a Frank Howard jumper gave the Orange a 54-49 lead with just 1:31 left in regulation. This Michigan State team isn't great in a half-court offense either, which Syracuse will force it into. Offensively, Michigan State has been led by Miles Bridges (17.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.8 apg), Cassius Winston (12.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 6.9 apg), Nick Ward (12.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.4 bpg), and Jaren Jackson Jr.
"This tournament just breaks your heart", Boeheim said.
Syracuse attacked Michigan State's defense and it made 24 of 31 free throws.
Joel Berry II scored 21 points in his final game for the second-seeded Tar Heels (26-11), who were trying to reach their third straight Final Four.