Can Michigan State win the whole thing like in 2000?

Can Michigan State win the whole thing like in 2000?

Here we are. Another March in which not just the whole city produced 0 NCAA Tournament teams, but the entire state. Sure, you can talk NIT about Northwestern and Illinois State, but I'd figure I'd actually discuss something you might care about. There's a ton of MSU alumni/fans in Chicago, and everyone has a bracket.

Should you take Michigan St. in your bracket? Well, I'll tell you how they compare/contrast with the national title team of 2000, and preview their first round game.

In winning their first Big Ten Tournament title since 2000, the Michigan State Spartans did it with depth and role players, kind of like the 2000 National Championship team. Granted this team today doesn’t have four future NBA players (the ’00 team had Jason Richardson, Mateen Cleaves, Andre Hutson and Morris Peterson) so you can only go so far with this analogy…of course Draymond Green looks like a late first rounder, Branden Dawson looked like a 2014 prospect before the ACL injury, and Keith Appling could develop into a pro guy be his senior year.

But the 2000 and 2012 Spartans share both a BTT title and similarly good “glue guys” and role players.

Here’s my nerdy and somewhat softball question to Izzo about the two teams.

Q. Coach, you’ve had some role players step up and play some key roles during this tournament. Does that kind of remind you of the 2000 team when your guys like (Mike) Chappell and (A.J.) Granger had big times at key moments?

I should have thrown in Richardson as well, because he struggled his freshman year, wasn’t a main contributor, but still had one big game in the tourney.

COACH IZZO: It does. But those four or five pros we had on that team, they’re absent right now. So the step-up guys might be doing a pretty
good job, but it was the original guys that are a lot different.

But you are right. Hey, Kearney came in and did a pretty good job defensively today. And Nix is — he’s a sixth man of the year candidate, or was, because he’s done some pretty good things for us. And Trice, who played pretty well yesterday, just didn’t get as many reps because oftheir bigger lineup. It was a real problem. They post their guards a lot, and that’s what we missed in Branden Dawson.

But we are getting some more play out of more guys. Hey, Russell Byrd, those were four, five good minutes that he played today for us. So
we’re starting to get a little comfortable with more and more guys.

These aren’t the most exciting match-ups in the first round of the NCAA Tournament usually. And yes, IT’S A FIRST ROUND, STOP CALLING IT THE SECOND ROUND! YOU’RE TELLING ME, IT’S A “ROUND” MEANING 60/68 TEAMS AUTOMATICALLY GET A BYE. Ok, now that I’m done pointing out NCAA idiocy, I’ll stop yelling.

The Spartans enter the tournament with the #4 RPI and the #1 strength of schedule this year, not to mention the momentum of winning the Big Ten Tournament, so they’ll be tourney tested and tourney ready.

“a lot of people always say Coach Izzo takes off the Big Ten Tournament to get ready for the NCAA Tournament. That’s such a myth,” Draymond Green said.

Agreed.

tom_izzo

Michigan State Spartans synopsis: In winning their first Big Ten Tournament title since 2000, the Michigan State Spartans did it with depth and role players, kind of like the 2000 National Championship team. Granted this team today doesn’t have four future NBA players (the ’00 team had Jason Richardson, Mateen Cleaves, Andre Hutson and Morris Peterson) so you can only go so far with this analogy…of course Draymond Green looks like a late first rounder, Branden Dawson looked like a 2014 prospect before the ACL injury, and Keith Appling could develop into a pro guy be his senior year.

But the 2000 and 2012 Spartans share both a BTT title and similarly good “glue guys” and role players.

east-egg

Long Island Blackbirds synopsis: The West Egg nouveau riche will never catch up with the old money of the East Egg will they? Separated by a courtesy bay…sorry once you brought up Long Island, I couldn’t help but think of “the Great Gatsby.” Anyways, Long Island Brooklyn is 3rd in the nation in scoring, the Northeast conference champions put up almost 82 a game. However, they give it up more than any liberated, inebriated flapper, as they’re 159th in the nation in points against.

The Match-Up: If you’re one of the people who watches the NCAA Tournament as an excuse to go drinking, then this is the match-up for you! The biggest party school in the Big Ten vs. a school named for a place that produces one of the strongest drinks around. No one on Long Island is over 6-7 and three of the Blackbirds’ guards are under 6 feet. Therefore, expect Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix to have their way inside.

And for Brandon Wood, Keith Appling and Brandon Kearney to get lots of open looks on the outside. Also, the Blackbirds have NO ANSWER for Draymond Green.

Odds and Ends: How about Robinson Odoch Opong for the all name team? Vive le Quebecois for the Quebec City native.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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