INDIANAPOLIS – John Beilein and No. 8 Michigan have bigger aspirations than winning a Big Ten tournament title or pulling off a three-game sweep of their in-state rival.
Last year's NCAA tournament runner-up has already honed in on completing its next quest — winning a national championship.
Adreian Payne finished with 18 points and nine rebounds and Branden Dawson had 15 points and six rebounds, leading No. 22 Michigan State to a 69-55 upset Sunday to win their fourth conference tournament title. Less than an hour later, the Big Ten regular season champs were already moving on.
"Our bracket is pretty tough, but this is what we've lived for," Big Ten player of the year Nik Stauskas said after scoring 17 points and being named to the all-tournament team. "We've been worked all year to put ourselves in this position, now it's just time to play."
The loss was costly for Michigan (25-8), which had a seven-game winning streak end.
Michigan was widely expected to get a No. 1 seed after escaping with a 1-point win over Illinois in the quarterfinals and a 3-point win over Ohio State in the semifinals. Instead they wound up with a No. 2 seed in the Midwest, an opening date Thursday against 15th-seeded Wofford and a chance to come right back to Indianapolis in two weeks if it wins twice in Milwaukee.
"People talk about one, two, three, four seeds. None of us coaches really care about that, or at least this coach doesn't," Beilein said. "Just like the 13, 14, 15, 16, they just want to be in this tournament and we're playing a good Wofford team. The Southern Conference, they've had Davidson there before and we all know how good Davidson has been in the NCAA tournament."
Beilein was already concerned about potential problem — matching up with Wofford assistant coach Darris Nichols, an old point guard of his from his West Virginia days.
First, though, they must figure out what went wrong against the Spartans (26-8), who they had beaten twice during the regular season.
Michigan came into the weekend with the top seed, their first outright league title in 28 years and a chance to amend for the frustrations of past Big Ten tourneys.
Instead, three games in three days — two that went down to the final shot — seemed to sap Michigan of its energy and its shooting touch.
The Wolverines shot 31.5 percent from the field, nearly matching their season low of 31.1 percent in a November loss at Charlotte. They were outrebounded 38-28 and needed a 3-pointer from Zak Irvin with 49 seconds left just to avoid matching its lowest point total of the season.
Derrick Walton Jr. had 11 points and was the only other Michigan player to score in double figures.
But this was not the same team that frustrated Michigan State Tom Izzo for so much of the season. Nope, these Spartans are starting to round into their usual March form.
"You don't get many teams that are talented, have inside and outside, show toughness, are together, have great chemistry," Izzo said. "I've said three times in my career that I thought we were good enough to get to a Final Four. I thought this team was next in line."
Apparently, the Spartans needed to do more than win three games in three days and four of their last five to get their preferred NCAA tournament destination.
Michigan State wound up with the No. 4 seed in the East Regional and will open tourney play Thursday against 13th-seeded Delaware in Spokane, Wash. Izzo was hoping to stay in the Midwest where the regional round is being played in Indy, one of the Spartans' favorite cities.
Sunday's victory allowed Michigan State to pull off a rare double — winning the Big Ten football and basketball tourney titles — in venues less than a mile apart. Izzo won his only national championship in Indianapolis, played here in the 2010 Final Four and won a 2009 regional at Lucas Oil Stadium, a win that sent the Spartans to the Final Four in Detroit.
Dawson scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half and was named the tourney's Most Outstanding Player.
"It feels great to just have our rhythm and chemistry back and to see us playing that way as a team," Dawson said.