Bruce Pearl reflects on coaching Division II, changing basketball culture in Auburn

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo holds up the net after defeating Duke in an NCAA men's East Regional final college basketball game in Washington Sunday

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The crowd cheered. But in all that pandemonium, a whistle.

Jarrett Culver is the team's leading scorer (18.9 points a game) and main National Basketball Association prospect, but the defensive help comes from all places.

Guy sunk all three and the Cavaliers prevailed, 63-62.

The Tigers received eight points, three pulls and five helpers from Anfernee Hardaway while Austin Wiley chipped in with another seven points. It may finally be Virginia's year, but Auburn's speed could give them trouble on Saturday night - at least enough to keep the game close enough to cover the spread. Virginia forces a shot-clock violation on Auburn's first possession. The Cavaliers' goal was to win at all costs.

As the Tigers struggled hit 3-pointers in the first half, it was points in the paint that put Auburn in the lead.

He emphasized on-court development but also enhancing players' social and spiritual lives by having them attend church with him and holding team gatherings at his house. "Their defense is probably the best we played against". "So whatever it takes to win".

The group includes representatives from the football team, along with former basketball and football players, who traveled to see the No. 2-seeded Spartans (32-6) face No. 3 Texas Tech (30-6) in a national semifinal on Saturday (8:49 p.m., CBS) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Auburn took 140 seconds to score its first points of the night, but was competitive on offense against a team that's consistently been the best defensive program in college basketball for the better part of a decade. And after losing a three-point lead after halftime to come back from a significant second-half deficit, it looked likely the underdog would again eliminate another No. 1 seed.

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While Michigan State is a team with a short bench due to injuries and youngsters on the roster, the Red Raiders have a steady eight-man rotation that allows the starters to get a breather and stay somewhat fresh throughout the game.

The game was completely played at Virginia's pace for so long. "Tomorrow we're going to have another great practice, watch film".

But the bracket-breaking couldn't continue. And its top two players - senior guard Bryce Brown and junior guard Jared Harper - fell ill a few days before the semifinal with colds. Guy was mobbed by his teammates, and more boos followed, occasionally drowned out by Virginia cheers, only to return as the Cavaliers ran off the floor. The Tigers' quick style relied on forcing turnovers.

- Tadlock said he thought both Taylor Floyd and Dane Haveman threw the ball well and thought Floyd did a good job of getting the team through the right-handers of Kansas' batting order. An Auburn spokesman said Friday the team was not expecting Okeke to make the trip. Michigan State's Cassius Winston might get more acclaim, but there's not a single overall metric that would indicate he's more invaluable to his team than Culver.

Mooney is shooting 38 percent from 3-point range, while Moretti is better still, making an incredible 46.3 percent of his 3-point shots this year.

"This team is very connected", Izzo said. That would end up being crucial as Guy didn't miss his free throws. And his Virginia, which was always a favorite, now must endure heading into the title game possibly more hated than celebrated.

"It took a little adjustment at first, but I just feel like a lot of people stepped up in that moment", Brown said.

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