Like Magic, Draymond Green leads Michigan State

By Tom Withers

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, March 17 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Johnson told Green that if the Spartans are going to make a deep run, they have to do it as one.

"That's what the family is all about," Green said. "Helping each other out."

The Billikens (26-7) are now blocking the Spartans' path.

One of the nation's best defensive teams, Saint Louis slowed Memphis to a crawl on Friday, frustrating the Tigers in a 61-54 win. Majerus, who is 11-1 in the NCAAs opening round, had his team play deliberately on offense and aggressively on defense.

For 40 minutes, the Billikens went man-to-man, taking the fight to the Tigers and declawing them.

"You know what kind of toothpaste they use because you're in so close," senior center Brian Conklin said. "It's a fun defense. We love playing defense like that."

Saint Louis is back in the tournament after a 12-year absence. Majerus has been preaching to his players not to adopt a happy-to-be-here attitude, and so far the Billikens have listened. They're one win from making the regional semifinals for the first time.

"Yesterday was an upset, supposedly," Conklin said. "Everyone said we weren't going to win that game. We've already done one, so why not a second one? We're going to muck up the game like we did yesterday and play dirty basketball."

If that's the case, Green said he and teammates will be ready.

"I don't think it will be that big of a challenge for us if they want to play dirty or come out and try to make it a physical game," he said. "That's how we play all summer. That's what we built our program around. So that will be fine with us."

No doubt, Magic would say the same thing.

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