Rise of Michigan State
Saturday will be one amazing day for basketball. #1 seeds battle it out as Kentucky and Wisconsin go head to head for a shot at the National Championship game. Also that day will be #1 seed Duke facing… #7 seed Michigan State? Yes Michigan State has shocked everyone (yet again) and advanced to the Final Four where they will go against Duke. The Big Ten is showing its muscle with two teams in the Final Four. Michigan State, with the exception of the second round, has been against teams that were ranked higher than them. Michigan State has gone up against teams such as Virginia, Louisville, Georgia, and Oklahoma. Time and again Tom Izzo has shown poise, strategy, and excitement, although who wouldn’t after overtime win against Rick Pitino and Louisville. They have proven why they should be in this tournament.
Throughout the regular season, Michigan State was only 2-6 against ranked opponents. Even then Michigan State has been a team built on consistency. The longest win streak of the season for them has been four games, which has happened three times. They haven’t faltered despite coming up short in the Big Ten championship game, ironically also against Wisconsin. It seems fitting that the top two teams in the Big Ten are also two of the teams in the Final Four. Even though Wisconsin has Frank “The Tank” Kaminsky, who was voted as a first team All-American by the Associated Press, Michigan State has Tom Izzo. Tom Izzo is one of the best coaches in college basketball. He has taken his team from mediocrity to being one of the most talked about teams in the entire country. And on Saturday he has the chance to beat Duke, home of another fantastic coach, Mike Krzyzewski, a.k.a. Coach K.
Izzo has had one of the greatest runs in tournament history. They have beaten everyone in their way to get to the Final Four. It hasn’t been just how they have beaten the other teams; it’s who they have beaten. Virginia, Duke’s biggest rival throughout this season and ranked #2 in the tournament, lost to Michigan State. Louisville, home of another fantastic coach known as Rick Pitino, just lost to Michigan State in overtime. Oklahoma, who resides in the Big 12 and was a force to be reckoned with, lost to Michigan State. Seeing a pattern here? All of these fantastic teams who were forces during the regular season, have fallen in the post season to Michigan State and Tom Izzo.
Now maybe its just because I go to a school that resides in the Big Ten, but I’m hoping that this Michigan State team can face off against Wisconsin in the National Championship game. If that were to happen, then it guarantees a Big Ten title. The Big Ten conference has been belittled in the past because before this year the Big Ten hasn’t won a championship in Football or Basketball since 2002. Well Ohio State changed that with their win over Oregon in the National Championship game, and depending on Saturday’s outcome, another Big Ten school could secure a championship. Only one school has won both a Football and Basketball championship in the same season, and that was Florida in 2006.