So last week was the start of the tourney. Eveery year, crazy games happens and we all lose our heads over it. This year however, I somehow neglected to fill out a bracket (sacriligous right!?). I was hoping to have a bracket breakdown update at this point in the tournament tonight, but I guess this will be a much shorter post.
Friday night Michigan State survived a late surge from New Mexico State to advance to the second round of the field. Today, they faced off against the 4th seeded Terps from Maryland. It's odd for MSU to be the "underdog" this early in the tournament, but that's how I viewed the matchup going in. Sparty had been just too inconsistant.
Well, throughout the game the big green machine held a good lead. With two minutes to go in the game however, Maryland decided it would not go quietly into the night. They pulled ahead by one with under a minute to go, 81-80. A quick jumper got MSU back into the lead 82-81 with just under :30 to play. With only 7 seconds to go, Maryland took an 83-82 lead and all of Terp-nation was going nuts. It wouldn't be out of the norm for MSU to blow a late lead and lose, but not tonight. For the second game in a row, fate favored Tom Izzo's squad. The Spartans ran the length of the floor and as the clock hit :00 and the buzzer sounded, Korie Lucious's three point shot sunk through the net. Elation for one, heart break another. So close, so far. On to St. Louis, on to the Sweet Sixteen!
With star Kalin Lucas out, the Spartans now face an even tougher battle this coming Friday against ninth seeded Northern Iowa. The Panthers upset overall number one ranked Kansas, a team many had picked to win it all in Indianapolis, in a stunning and powerful fashion. This will be no scrimmage. Northern Iowa can now taste what lies ahead. The only problem for them may be a let down. If MSU can pull off a win, it will be by 6 points or less. This team is gassing and beat to hell. It's been a long, rough ride for them. After the dissapointments of February, a share of the Big Ten regular season title and a Sweet Sixteen appearance are something not to be ashamed of if the run ends this Friday.
Enjoy the moment folks, for those who are Spartan fans anyway. Of the hundreds of schools with a Division I basketball program, only sixteen got to this point. Once again, we get to enjoy the priviledge. Don't take it for granted.