The day the NCAA basketball tournament bracket was announced, I thought: “Oh my god, I’m going to be in the stands.”
That day, however, I had no idea the game would end in the final minutes.
The NCAA tournament begins at 6:00 p.m.
ET on Wednesday.
It was the last time Michigan State beat the Spartans in the regular season.
I remember thinking: “That was an amazing game.
I have never seen that.
That was the game of the year.”
I had been watching the Spartans’ opening game in the semifinals, and I was shocked to see them down 3-1 to Michigan State in the first half.
I was also very disappointed in how close they came to winning.
I thought the Spartans would go on to win the game.
But they fell short and Michigan State took the series in six games.
I watched the second game from my hotel room in Detroit.
I went to bed, but I woke up and realized I’d missed the tournament.
I thought, “I’ve missed the NCAA tournament,” I thought, I’ll get an invite to the next one, and then maybe I’ll be able to watch the next tournament in the fall.
That night, I got to watch it again, and it was much worse.
It started with the Michigan State defense giving up 10 straight points to start the game and ended with the Spartans missing 10 of their first 11 shots from the field and committing nine turnovers.
It was a nightmare game for Michigan State.
They went down a man and never recovered.
They missed eight 3-pointers, including a 3-pointer from Chris Boucher that went wide and went in for a layup with 1:12 left.
Then they made four straight free throws.
They shot 17-for-30 from the floor and 19-for.
It felt like they were on a roll.
Michigan State, which had won the previous four NCAA tournament games, was on the verge of the final two games of the regular-season tournament.
And it was Michigan State who was in the thick of it, with an 87-69 lead over Wisconsin and a 73-60 lead over Purdue.
I started crying as I was watching.
The Spartans took the lead for good at 72-64 when Zach LeDay made a 3 with 0.4 seconds left in the game, and the Spartans pulled to 83-67 when Justin Jackson made a 2-pointer with 1.5 seconds left.
Then Marquette hit a free throw with 7.4 minutes left and the game was tied.
The Badgers then led 61-55 at halftime, but the Spartans went on a 17-4 run to cut it to 61-59.
After Jackson hit a 3 from the left corner, Marquette put up a lay-up to cut the lead to two points, but Michigan State made three free throws to tie it at 63-63 with 3:21 left.
I could see the clock was going.
I know I didn’t get a chance to get in the shot booth and make sure the ball hit the rim.
I didn�t know how long it would take.
I started crying again, but then I got up and went to sleep.
The next morning, the Spartans were at practice, and coach Mark Dantonio told me the next day that he was upset he missed the playoffs.
I said, “How can you be upset?”
I told him, “It�s been a crazy year.
I can�t believe it.”He said, �I just want to thank you for the support.
You were the best fan I’ve ever had.
I wanted to be your teammate.
I wish you nothing but the best going forward.�I still got a chance and have a great team and a great season, and we�re just going to make it.
I told him this: We�re going to play the best team in the country.
We have to win every game.
And we can win by 30 points or something.
But if we can play our best game, we can get to the championship.
We can beat anybody.
We just have to find a way to do it.
I want to win that game and I hope I can play my best.
We want to go out there and play well.
I hope we get a big win.
“I think Marquette was on a tear, and everybody was really excited.
The fans were chanting, “We�re the best in the nation!
We�ve won the tournament!
We’re going to win a national championship!
“I just thought, Wow, this is unbelievable.
I had seen Michigan State before, but not like this.
They had come to the Rose Bowl, where they beat Wisconsin in the Rose Quarterfinals.
They beat Ohio State, Purdue, Notre Dame and Wisconsin.
It wasn�t a great year for them, but it was definitely a great experience.
I think Marquetas fans really felt it