There's been a lot of tough Saturday's around these parts over the last few years, and during that time, we've learned something about ourselves, we've grown as fans (those that have stayed), and we've come to appreciate successes, even little ones, a lot more. Wins mean more today than they did 10...even 5...years ago. Yes, I am talking about basketball, and yes, I am rolling football into this discussion. Around here it's always football season and Spring Practice is two weeks away so...ya.
The students were off for Spring Break for senior day at Crisler. Regardless, many a Maize Rager cut the sun and sand short to catch one final glimpse of this improbable Michigan team, trying to do the seemingly impossible, sweep the Spartans. And while I don't subscribe to the theory that Michigan State is an elite basketball program like a Duke or a North Carolina, I do recognize that in the present time, this is their game. It's tough to argue with so many Final Four appearances. It's also fun to laugh at their inability to capitalize on one in ten years. It's even more fun to beat them at their own game. Of course, I'm sure many Spartan fans would be happy to tell you about this feeling, since they currently hold serve with three victories in a row in football...decidedly OUR sport. I am also certain that you will be hearing every green and white clad douchebag crowing about football today. Basketball is over for them.
Hello again, little brother.
Emotions ran high for me during Saturday's game. Michigan State didn't put in a field goal in the first 6 minutes, but the lead was never more than 14, and I felt like we didn't properly put them away when we had the chance. I knew in my glass half empty heart that at some point, the Spartans were going to heat up. But it never happened. There were too many late game mistakes by the Wolverines to even mention, but it didn't matter. This seemingly poorly assembled bunch of random kids, playing together, working a system, made believers out of all of us. My face half covered by my Michigan sweatshirt held up by hands held tightly in a prayer formation, I watched as Darius layed in the final dagger and the clock slipped to 0.0. My eyes welled up just a bit. Michigan had punched its ticket to the dance.
Embarrassingly, I mentioned post game that I couldn't believe Michigan didn't do anything for senior night...after which I took a good natured tongue lashing because obviously we have no seniors. My faux pas aside, that's an important point to make. This team is young. And somehow, they owned MSU from tip to buzzer. Sure it got close from time to time, but it was obvious who the better team was, despite the reality that there's probably not a Michigan player that would have found himself with a spot on the Michigan State roster at the beginning of this season.
That's a testament to the man in charge.
Michigan will not have to play on Thursday in the Big Ten tournament, a reward for coming in at #4 in the regular season standings. The wacky bracket that somehow creates a single winner from an uneven 11-team field has us matched up with the Illini on Friday around 2:30pm. The winner will likely have to face Ohio State, who we still owe for that half court bullshit that went down last year. It's gonna be a fun few weeks.
40 days, 40 nights, 40 posts begins Tuesday...see you then.