Yesterday, I was bound and determined to casually watch Michigan State's final regular season basketball game. Nothing would bother me. I wouldn't get irritable or angry or emotional. Whatever happened would be perfectly fine. It wouldn't matter to me in the least. MSU already had 20 regular seasons in the bag and at least 11 conference wins. Anything else: gravy.
What's that expression about "The best laid plans of mice and men?"
With two minutes remaining, MSU had an 8-point lead over Indiana. But as has been the case all season, the Spartans have a maddening ability to make the final few minutes of almost any game way too interesting. The Spartans missed seven of 14 free throws down the stretch. If one doesn't count Travis Trice (who was five of six from the charity stripe in the final two minutes--and thank heavens for that), the Spartans only made two of eight. In the most ironic moment of an already crazy finish, the one time MSU did NOT want a made free throw (up by one with less than one second left), Marvin Clark hit nothing but net. Instead of the clock continuing to run after a missed free throw and allowing Indiana no chance to set up a last shot, the clock stopped on the make. Tom Izzo looked like he was about to keel over from a heart attack. Indiana had one last gasp, but the Hoosiers' desperation heave came about two feet short.
The Spartans survived and I probably saw another six months shaved off my life span.
Despite the excruciating circumstances, it was still a hard-fought victory over a desperate team on its home floor; and MSU did it without Branden Dawson. Despite all the travails this team has been through, they finish 12-6 in the Big Ten and 3rd place.
...and now I and every other MSU fan can take a breather until the conference tournament begins on Wednesday.