But the third-seeded Wolverines fell again to Michigan State after blowing their chance to win the league by losing to their rivals twice in the final four regular-season games. Zavier Simpson added 15 points and nine assists, helping MI win its 10th straight Big Ten Tournament game - the conference's longest such streak.
Ultimately, the run ended with a loss in the national championship game to Villanova, but after a 28-6 record, MI basketball seems to have all the ingredients for another deep run, although knocking off teams like Texas Tech, Gonzaga or even Florida State won't be easy. The Wolverines opened an eight-point lead heading into the half. Xavier Tillman also added 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Spartans. The Spartans were awarded a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and will face Bradley in the first round on Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa. Michigan State advances to the Big Ten Championship Game, which will take place Sunday afternoon at the United Center in Chicago.
Michigan: The Wolverines have their sights set on another big NCAA run after losing to Villanova in the championship game previous year. "We can get right back to playing".
If Michigan advances, it would play the victor of No. 7 Nevada and No. 10 Florida.
Livers drove the baseline for a two-handed dunk and Simpson finished it with a 3, making it 31-15 with 3:34 left.
Michigan State forward Nick Ward didn't play in either game and Matthews missed the most recent one and was battling injury in the first matchup.
The Spartans' Kenny Goins hit two free throws to make it 65-60 with two seconds left.
In a casual battle for a rebound, Ahrens came down awkwardly as his ankle rolled up on a defender's and he collapsed, screaming in agony. Guard Kyle Ahrens suffered a leg injury in Sunday's win against MI but a team spokesman said X-Rays were negative.
He clutched his lower left leg as he screamed in pain. CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson said Ahrens might even return to the bench on crutches in the second half.
Wisconsin was dismal defensively, failing to close-out on Michigan State's sharpshooters, while the Badgers could not stick to their measured offensive identity.
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