Winning the Big Ten Tournament for a third straight year would be an incredible accomplishment for John Beilein and the Maize and Blue.
MI led Minnesota by 20 with 18:37 left in the second half, then the game's leading scorer, sophomore forward Isaiah Livers, took over.
"Kobe played well. That's the Kobe we envision and want for the future", Gard said of the sophomore's performance.
No. 3 MI (28-5, 15-5 Big Ten) vs.
Matt McQuaid scored a career-high 27 points, Cassius Winston converted the go-ahead layup in the closing minute and No. 6 Michigan State rallied to beat No. 10 Michigan 65-60 on Sunday in Chicago for its sixth Big Ten Tournament championship. "Beating them three times ... it's hard to do". "That's what it's all about at Michigan State".
Sunday, when it counted most, was one of those times, again. Michigan State swept its in-state rivals with a 77-70 win in Ann Arbor and a 75-63 victory last Saturday in East Lansing to win the conference regular-season title.
The Michigan Wolverines are also headed to Des Moines, but they are the #2 seed in the West bracket and will play Montana.
"I had a smile on my face, seeing them run by all excited and stuff (as MSU was exiting the court and MI entering in between semifinals)", Brazdeikis said. The Badgers struggled as a team from 3-point range as well, going just 2-for-19 from beyond the arc.
However, the third meeting will be different - a different location, different roster composition on both sides and different stakes.
Michigan's third-leading scorer, who was a big part of the Wolverines' 2018 run to the Final Four, has been battling an ankle injury, and even if he comes back, it could hinder both him and MI if he's not 100 percent. In the words of Matthews' teammate Eli Brooks, "he's a really good defender, elite defender".
CREATING OFFENSE: Winston has either made or assisted on 55 percent of all Michigan State field goals over the last five games.
"It does keep you up at night but that's the exciting part", Yaklich said, adding, "He is an incredible at reading the ball screen defense".