Tom Izzo has his team ready for another March run.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Tom Izzo has his team ready for another March run. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

 

 

All of us out here in “Spartan Nation” rest easy. Our worst fears never materialized. The Spartans made the NCAA tournament for the 14th consecutive season. This is cause to celebrate, however there is still work to be done.

 

Every goal this team set for the season has not been accomplished. This team set out to win the Big Ten regular season title, tournament title, and National Championship. Two of those goals are beyond attainable, but hope (no matter how small) remains that this team has another run left in them.

 

With a sigh of relief, Tom Izzo took to the podium for his weekly press conference and elaborated on his team’s success and chances this March. Notable excerpts include:

 

“We are in as good as a matchup (UCLA) as we can be for the weekend.”

 

“I look at this matchup as our opportunity to play a storied program.”

 

“I don’t know if Nix has ever played against someone who dwarfs him but it will happen.”

 

“The most lethal part of their game is that they are lethal on the break.”

 

“Durrell has put a lot of pressure on himself this season.”

 

“I feel like he’s (Summers) been working hard and looking at the things I need him to look at.

 

“I think Delvon is going to practice both times this week, which is like the second coming.”

 

The time that we have all waited for his finally here. Give the Spartans credit. They weathered a storm which included the dismissal of two key players, injuries, and one of the toughest schedules in the country. They deserve respect for this. Respect is something that is earned and not given, and its become apparent to me that the national media continues to disrespect our program.

Have the Spartans lived up to the hype? No they haven’t. Its understandable to see why they haven’t. I took exception to Doug Gottlieb’s comments calling our team “Kalin Lucas and a bunch of other dudes.” Most pundits pick UCLA to beat the Spartans and I must admit this is a possibility. Before we drink the Kool-Aid, lets not forget that the Bruins have not won a game away from home since February 17th, and have very little to no NCAA tournament experience. Ben Howland is a great coach. Let’s not forget he guided UCLA to 3 straight final four appearances. The only problem is that he didn’t win a single one of them, and since the departure of Kevin Love his program has accomplished next to squat.

UCLA hasn’t won a title in 16 years, while MSU has played in two title games and reached six final fours. Why are people giving Ben Howland respect he hasn’t earned? That’s a good question. Maybe because it’s a storied program, or maybe people just want to see the program with the most NCAA titles get back on track. While that’s a good wholesome story fit for its’ own  movie on “Lifetime”, it aint going to happen! We are going to Derrick Nix early and often and the senior experience the Spartans have will take UCLA in deep waters and drown them.

Billy Donovan is next. Hater or Love it, Spartans will be going to the Sweet 16.