There will be a first-time national champion. Texas Tech beat Michigan State, 61-51, Saturday night at the Final Four to advance and play Virginia for the title.
Matt Mooney tied his season high with 22 points as the Red Raiders defense dominated most of the night and held the Spartans to only 31.9 percent shooting. Texas Tech star Jarrett Culver was cold for most of the night but made clutch shots late to secure the win.
Michigan State-Texas Tech: Score, live updates from the Final Four
Michigan State-Texas Tech: Time, TV channel for the Final Four
The Spartans and Red Raiders play in the second game on Saturday. They will follow the Auburn-Virginia game. Tentative start time is 8:49 p.m. ET from U.S. Bank Stadium. It is on CBS.
Michigan State-Texas Tech: Livestream, how to watch online
Online coverage of the game is through March Madness live.
Michigan State-Texas Tech: Preview, how they compare
For all the attention Virginia's defense gets, it's Texas Tech with the No. 1 defense. KenPom rates the Red Raiders No. 1 nationally on defense. Texas Tech is second in field goal percentage defense at 36.9 percent, behind only Houston.
The No. 3 team? Michigan State at 37.9 percent.
Going in, it's easy to anticipate a physical battle where rebounding and second-chance points could be crucial.
"So when we go into a game like that, we just tell our guys, this is a Big 12 game," Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said Friday. "This is a BCS game. You'd better rebound and get back and take good shots. These guys have NBA players, specifically with the Big Ten. I think the reputation is true with the physical play around the basket and the rebounding. Obviously, Hall of Fame coaching. We try to keep it pretty simple. To us, it's a Big 12-level BCS game."
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Texas Tech probably had the most eye-opening defensive performance this tournament, too. The Red Raiders held No. 2 seed Michigan to 44 points (16 in the first half) and only 16-for-49 shooting in their Sweet 16 rout. But don't sleep on the team's next game, when the Red Raiders held the nation's most efficient offense to only 69 points and only 42 percent shooting to clinch their first trip to the Final Four.
But Michigan State might also be peaking at the right time, just like Texas Tech. The Spartans knocked out the No. 1 overall seed in the Elite Eight, 68-67. Cassius Winston was busy, totaling 20 points, 10 assists and four steals against Duke's talented freshmen.
Though Michigan State is more of a Final Four veteran, especially with coach Tom Izzo, this will be the current Spartans players' first Final Four appearance.
FINAL FOUR PREDICTIONS: Projected final scores for both games | Key players to watch
Michigan State-Texas Tech: Stats
|Michigan State||Statistic||Texas Tech|
|32-6 (16-4 Big Ten)||Record (Conference)||30-6 (14-4 Big 12)|
|No. 2 East||Seed||No. 3 West|
|78.3||Points per game||73.0|
|65.1||Points against per game||59.0|
|No. 5||KenPom offense||No. 28|
|No. 9||KenPom defense||No. 1|
|37.9||FG percentage defense||36.9|
|31.4||3-point percentage defense||29.3|
|40.6||Rebounds per game||34.2|
|10.9||Offensive rebounds per game||8.7|
|5.3||Steals per game||7.4|
|5.3||Blocks per game||5.0|
|Points leader||Jarrett Culver
|Rebounds leader||Jarrett Culver
|Assists leader||Jarrett Culver
|W, No. 15 Bradley, 76-65
W, No. 10 Minnesota, 70-50
W, No. 3 LSU, 80-63
W, No. 1 Duke, 68-67
|Road to the Final Four||W, No. 14 Northern Kentucky, 72-57
W, No. 6 Buffalo, 78-58
W, No. 2 Michigan, 63-44
W, No. 1 Gonzaga, 75-69