By Jeff Riger

By: Jeff Riger

This time around, it was odd!

As Michigan and Michigan State prepared to play their first meeting of the season in basketball, MSU fans were quick to dismiss the matchup. Some Spartan fans claimed they didn’t care about the game because the only important thing this season is winning a National Championship. Huh? Really?

Since when do Michigan State followers not care about beating Michigan? And, I’m pretty sure you can care about both.

Come to find out, what they were really trying to do was set the ground work early.

Sparty people were preparing the excuses even before the game started.

“We don’t have Adreian Payne or Branden Dawson and even Keith Appling is banged up, so if we lose, it surly must be because of the injuries.”

I heard the above statement a lot on Friday and early Saturday.

And, I’ll give it to MSU. It’s actually kind of brilliant. If Michigan State lost it’s because of injuries and if they won, how pathetic Michigan must be that they couldn’t beat a team without their two best players. Either way, MSU people had their story agreed upon and have been sticking with it ever since the game ended.

Of course it’s crap!

MSU people are trying to make believe that they didn’t actually lose Saturday because they had a couple of injuries. I have to admit that I expected more from such a veteran fan base.

Despite missing Payne and Dawson, MSU was still favored to win the game according to Vegas and they were at home which means they get to play in front of one of the best crowds in all of college basketball. Oh and did I mention that Michigan was missing an All-American too? Mitch McGary has more than likely been lost for the season and I still have yet to hear a Michigan State person mention that little tidbit.

People, like me that have been dumb enough to follow Michigan basketball throughout the last 25 years have seen the worst of the worst. Few fans were forced to endure Brian Ellerbe’s incompetence in recruiting and coaching. There was Tommy Amaker, whose players never seemed to ever get better and let’s not forget about all the forgettable players that played Michigan basketball but never really had a chance of winning. The Spartans had pros in the making like Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson, Jason Richardson, Kalin Lucas, Charlie Bell, Shannon Brown and Paul Davis while the Wolverines countered with Josh Moore, Brandon Smith, Leon Jones, Peter Vignier, Brent Petway and all the others that bring back too many painful memories.

For 2 decades Michigan didn’t stand a chance against Michigan State but that didn’t matter. The Spartans still took great joy in beating the Wolverines despite the Michigan program sucking. When Cleaves racked up what seemed like 1,000,000,000 assists on senior day in East Lansing; did Michigan fans yell out “it doesn’t count, we’re not good enough?”

When Dani Wohl was forced to start at guard in a game at Michigan State did Michigan fans scream “we couldn’t start Daniel Horton so you didn’t win!”

Whether it’s due to injury of flat out incompetence, wins are not erased because one team has a perceived advantage over the other.

I heard a MSU fan on our station on Sunday yapping about Michigan fans thinking the win means something.

Well it does. The Wolverines proved they could rebound from the loss of Trey Burke and then regroup again after losing McGary. They proved they could beat 3 top ten teams in a row. And, they proved that John Beilein is one hell of a coach. In fact the program has proven a whole hell of a lot in the last 5 seasons and things just seem to be getting better to the dismay of MSU folks.

That same MSU fan on the radio was talking about Wolverine people thinking Beilein is a better coach than Tom Izzo.

I wouldn’t make that claim. Izzo has had years and years of success on his side while Beilein’s resume isn’t as extensive in Ann Arbor. However the fact that Beilein is 5 and 2 over his last 7 vs. Izzo could be the start of Michigan closing that gap. I know how much MSU people love the CTG (closing the gap) chatter!

I have been truly shocked by the way Spartan fans have reacted towards their latest loss on Saturday night. Here’s hoping that both Payne and Dawson recover by the next time the two teams play each other in February in Ann Arbor. Maybe that way, there won’t be any more excuses.

Oh, one more thing. It has come to my attention that some of the Michigan State people are upset about Nik Stauskas blowing kisses to somebody in the Breslin Center crowd after the game. Are people really irked about it? Maybe he was blowing kisses to his family or maybe he was just trying to show the thousands, that I’m sure had so many nice words for him throughout the game, how much he truly appreciates them. Hey, it could have been a lot worse you know. Remember when Jalen Rose rubbed his backside on the block S back in the day at Breslin? Ahh, those were the good ole’ days.

For all the fans that hated the Stauskas kiss, I wonder how they felt about their beloved Spartans planting that MSU flag on the Notre Dame Field years back? Can you believe they did that in front of Touchdown Jesus? Oh my!

Stop your whining MSU! You’re better than this!


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