Now the Spartans wait.
After defeating Minnesota (24-8, 11-7 Big Ten) twice during the regular season, Michigan State (19-14, 10-8) couldn’t make it three, falling 63-58 to the Gophers on Friday in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
On Selection Sunday, the Spartans will see where they’re headed for the remainder of the postseason. A 20th consecutive NCAA Tournament looks to be the likely destination.
Miles Bridges led Michigan State with 20 points and 7 rebounds. Nick Ward posted another double-double (15 points and 11 rebounds), while fellow freshman Cassius Winston played 12 minutes after suffering an ankle injury.
Why it happened
Michigan State could not score. Credit the Minnesota defense, which finds shooters, contests every shot around the rim and tries to force offenses to settle for low-percentage midrange jumpers. It worked, as the Spartans finished 32.8 percent from the field.
What it means
Michigan State won’t win its sixth Big Ten Tournament, mainly because of inconsistency. This young team can go from a tremendously efficient offensive game against Penn State on Thursday and then lay an egg the next day, which won’t instill a lot of confidence in fans.
Miles Bridges. He stood out because of his eye-opening talent and athleticism, but maybe even more for his pure hard work. He dove after loose balls, played tremendous help defense and was there to provide offense when the Spartans desperately needed it. Enjoy the Bridges dunk videos that have been sprinkled throughout the recap.
Josh Langford. He had a stretch of 5 consecutive points that helped get the Spartans back in the game, but he provided little to no offense the rest of the way. He finished with 6 points on 2-for-6 shooting. He also struggled to contain Amir Coffey off the dribble. The Minnesota freshman scored 13.
Who was there
Former Michigan State stars Mateen Cleaves and Eric Snow sat together, but the real story was another pair. Two guys in the crowd angered Michigan and Michigan State fans alike by rocking gear from both schools.
— Ace Anbender (@AceAnbender) March 10, 2017
Who is next
Michigan State will have to wait and learn its fate on Selection Sunday. The NCAA Tournament looks exceedingly likely. The biggest question will be the seeding.
Third time's the charm for Minnesota, which finally takes down Michigan State. pic.twitter.com/ULavulDrSl
— Luke Srodulski (@lsrodulski) March 10, 2017