We can discuss from now until the end of days what classifies as a “bad beat,” but by any measure, Michigan State bettors are probably still wandering around their houses in their bathrobes muttering to themselves some 48 hours after one of the craziest endings to a college basketball game ever.
Michigan State headed to Iowa City for its game against the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, with sportsbooks installing the Spartans as 5-point underdogs — and +200 moneyline dogs. Both teams are almost certainly headed to the Big Dance, and this game — while not a determining factor for March Madness — definitely would count in the momentum standings.
And the first half certainly played out that way. Both teams traded blows, with nine lead changes and eight ties through the first 20 minutes. The teams retreated to the locker rooms tied at 42 at the half.
The second half told a different story. Michigan State pulled away and held a 91-78 lead with 1:34 remaining in regulation. At this point, according to reports, Iowa was a +4000 moneyline dog.
After cutting the lead to 91-81, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery engaged in a serious staredown with a referee during a timeout. It was uncomfortable.
This Fran McCaffery stare-down 💀 pic.twitter.com/BX5x7jBOv3— CBS Sports College Basketball 🏀 (@CBSSportsCBB) February 25, 2023
With 45 seconds left, not much had changed. Michigan State led 96-86. The game was seemingly over. (Narrator’s voice: It wasn’t.)
Then Iowa’s shooters turned into marksmen.
Connor McCaffery hit a three. Seven-point Michigan State lead. Iowa gets the ball back on a traveling call. Kris Murray hits a three. Michigan State lead cut to four. Two free throws by A.J. Hoggard later, Patrick McCaffery hits a three, lead cut to three. Hoggard again, two free throws. Five-point lead, 19 seconds left. Connor McCaffery again with a three, lead cut to two. Hoggard fouled again, makes the first free throw, misses the second. Time running out and Payton Sandfort hits a three, tying the game at 101. Hello, overtime.
And then … not even close. Iowa wins, 112-106.
So not only did Michigan State moneyline bettors see their +200 wagers go down in flames, but those who played it “safe” and took the points, well, time to take a shower, brush your teeth, and get on with life. Bad beats happen to the best of us.
Photo: Matthew Holst/Getty Images