But fortunately, Culver came through in the clutch scoring seven points in the final 2:30 after MSU cut the Texas Tech lead to one point at 52-51.
Listen to what MSU men's basketball coach Tom Izzo had to say today during this afternoon's weekly press conference at the Breslin Center. He has played all but 10 minutes in the tournament and scored 76 points with 31 assists and just 11 turnovers.
"Don't burn down Lubbock before we get back", Red Raiders guard Matt Mooney said Sunday before practice ahead of Monday night's national championship game against Virginia. I'm just thankful that these guys stepped up and played the way we needed to.
The defeats Michigan State has endured in the Final Four over the years have come in all flavors: They've fallen as high seeds expected to do great things and low seeds that surpassed expectations, and run into buzz-saws such as Duke and Arizona that were loaded with future National Basketball Association prospects and dropped down-to-the-wire nail-biters to the likes of Gordon Hayward and Butler.
"I wouldn't trade my experiences for anything", Beard said earlier this week when accepting the AP coach of the year award.
A 13-point lead for Beard's squad is usually good enough to guarantee a win with how they defend - they are, quite literally, the best defense in the KenPom era.
Izzo prides himself on toughness - in the old days, he'd suit up his guys in shoulder pads and helmets in practice.
Collins cited Rule 4, Section 39.i, which states, "Verticality applies to a legal position and also to both the offensive and defensive players".
"We wanted to win. That was our goal", said McQuaid, who battled cramps down the stretch.
Senior forward Kenny Goins is a key player for the Spartans. "A lot of people have helped me get to this point, have helped me along the way". We're going to get through this, but you guys need to be up there with me, and we need to go through this, and we need to go through next year together.
How else to explain that the Cavaliers took a team rafting trip over the summer as a way to bond - and grieve the way their season ended so abruptly - only to be greeted with a ceremonial Final Four paddle upon their arrival in Minneapolis?
'He should have never been on the line because the referees flat out blew it no way in the world they should miss - they got six eyes - miss a double dribble, ' the impassioned analyst said, 'and it was flat out a double dribble'. "We always talk about defense wins championships".