By: Martin Weiss
Now that the national champion has been crowned, let’s all take a collective sigh of relief.
We dodged a bullet.
We were dangerously close to reaching a critical mass, the effects of which would have been felt through the great state of Michigan for years to come.
Michigan and Michigan State were two games away from an epic showdown on college basketball’s biggest stage – the National Championship.
In theory, it sounds awesome.
In practice, it would have stunted the growth of something beautiful.
Whichever state of Michigan team had cut the nets would have the ultimate trump card in ANY arguments of superiority and rightfully so. It would have effectively killed the discussion altogether, at a time when Michigan vs. Michigan State was finally a discussion worth having.
While MSU has dominated the rivalry historically, Michigan has had the upper hand in six of the last nine contests. With MSU defeating U-M in the Big Ten Championship, the first time the teams have ever met in the Big Ten tournament, the rivalry is reaching heights it’s never experienced.
Tom Izzo has said many times that he wants Michigan State and Michigan to be similar in intensity to college basketball’s biggest rivalry – Duke vs. North Carolina.
Duke and North Carolina have never met in the NCAA tournament. It just gives more importance to their regular season meetings in raucous, home arenas instead of the cavernous football stadiums of the Final Four.
So while the potential of an all-Michigan National Championship game is alluring, we should all be glad it didn’t happen and rob us of years of state bragging rights flipping from faction to faction game by game.
Isn’t that what makes a rivalry good anyway? The way this one is growing, it could become one of the greats.