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NCAA Bracket 2012: Michigan State Narrowly Averts Saint Louis Disaster, Reaches Sweet 16

The No. 1 Michigan State Spartans looked like the better team all Sunday afternoon, but they were never able to pull away from the slow-motion Saint Louis Billikens—their 65-61 victory is worth a ticket to the Sweet 16, but No. 4 Louisville, with whom they'll face off on Thursday with the Elite 8 on the line, must have been watching very closely. (Not to mention everybody who had the No. 1 seed making the Sweet 16 in their 2012 NCAA bracket.) The Spartans' near-loss came despite shooting almost 20 percent better from the field, and with fine performances from Draymond Green, who had 16 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists, and Keith Appling, who scored 19 points on 7-14 shooting.

The Spartans might be the best team in the region, but Sunday they showed they were vulnerable to the No. 9 Billikens. The Louisville Cardinals won't shoot 35 percent from the field to bail them out.

More 2012 NCAA Tournament coverage from SB Nation St. Louis, March Madness dilettantes: