There is nothing in sports better than the NCAA tournament! Sure things come close, like playoffs in every major sport, but there is just something about a “one and done” format that does it for me. Like many people, I was watching the Kansas State – Xavier game on Thursday night and it never ceases to amaze me how the tournament just draws you in and makes you care about 2 teams that you probably never even watched during the regular season. For me it was a little different because I have Kansas State winning it all and I still have a chance to win money in a pool, but what a game! Double overtime, 2 teams playing their hearts out, both knowing this could be the end of the road, and in the end Frank Martin and his Wildcats advance and I still have all my “Final 4” teams intact! (I know you care)
So as I was taking in that amazing game, I of course started wondering what I have always wondered and that is why any school would want to be left out of March? I know in the long run football makes a school more money than basketball and the pigskin will always be king. However from what I have witnessed my entire life when it comes to this tournament I’m here to say that there is nothing more exciting. The upsets are second to none, the desperation is awesome, hell just go back to when Adam Morrison cried during a game in his final season with Gonzaga and that pretty much tells you what March is all about. So why are more schools not serious about getting there? I have always been a NCAA tournament fan over the bowl season and it has always irritated me when people throw out the phrase that “we’re a Football school” or “all we care about is football”. Have you ever been to a game at Crisler to watch Michigan play and then been to Breslin to watch Michigan State? The atmosphere is so different! People at State are enjoying themselves, getting involved, they are watching winning basketball. In Ann Arbor, it’s a morgue and there is no expectations and in the end nobody cares. How can this be? Don’t people see how fun things are in East Lansing and want to experience the same at Michigan?
So as I sit here typing, all these memories are running through my head about when Michigan was in the tournament and how awesome it was. From the “Fab Five” going to back to back championship games to the Robert Traylor led team that was supposed to go to the final four and lost in the second round to the team last year who hung with 2 seed Oklahoma, there have been some good times. But compare those memories to what Michigan State has and it’s not even close. From the 3 straight “Final Fours” at the beginning of a decade to their national title, to the fact that every four-year player has been to the pinnacle of college basketball all takes a backseat to no one! Hell they got to play in Detroit at the “Final Four” where a whole community rallied for them. We all know the stats, we all know what Izzo has done, we all know that no matter what, you can NEVER count MSU out during March. So why doesn’t Michigan want the same?
There is no commitment to winning with Wolverine basketball! Just now after all these years, facilities are finally being built so they can maybe compete with other schools for recruits! Why did it take so long? Why did John Beilein get an extension after blowing a 17 point lead to Northwestern? Why isn’t there outrage when a school like the “Maze and Blue” doesn’t go dancing? They are mighty Michigan, they are arrogant and pompas and would rather just ignore the whole month of March then demand to get in on the fun. I don’t know what makes me more mad, seeing this team not make it EVER to the tournament or the fans that are just OK with it?
I blame YOU! Sure YOU don’t have the ability to get a coach fired or to get a 5 star recruit, but what YOU can do is care! Don’t buy into the “we only care about football” mentality. Demand better and when YOU don’t get it be livid! People all the time talk about “Walmart Wolverines” and how they are nothing but a bunch of bandwagon jumping fraudulent fans and nothing could be worse. Thats wrong, this is worse! Not caring about one sport, but loving the other is pathetic! Not understanding that basketball success is just as important as football success is silly! Pretending like the NCAA Tournament isnt important because you never get there is delusional.
Ok, I done ranting! Nothing will change! I just felt like I had to get that out there. People will always ignore Michigan basketball and instead talk about how great Bo was because he changed the face of Michigan football. Well I will leave you with this…Jud was a good coach but Izzo is a great coach and when it is all said and done he has made Michigan State basketball much more impressive and relevent than Michigan football in this state! Now that should just flat-out just piss you off! Enjoy another season of meaningless spring practice while the Spartans, a group that you supposedly don’t care about continues to once again steal all the attention!