For University of Michigan alums & fans like me, March can often be a downright miserable month. Granted, life was pretty tolerable last year with the Elite 8 run for John Beilein’s Big 10 Regular Season Champion Michigan Wolverines, and especially in 2013 with the Final Four/Title game appearance. But not the case this year, needless to say.
What truly sits at the core of the frustration admittedly has to deal with this Michigan State consistent success the past 17 years – the 7 Final Four appearances under Tom Izzo – and 13 Sweet 16’s in that time span. My frustration obviously stems from “the rival thing” – what’s good for the rival, is not good for your team. Is that also petty jealousy? Oh, Hell yes ! — big time! And the truth to told, how do you combat what MSU has accomplished? It’s downright difficult – especially when it continues to get bundled with the recent Spartan Football success as arguably the country’s current best college football/basketball combo in the land.
Michigan State Basketball is getting some major accolades the past two weeks, I tell ya. Deservedly so. Izzo’s success is mind boggling, when you break it all down. What he accomplished with this team – and where they were following shocking home losses to Illinois and Minnesota – very impressive. It’s a team of incredible chemistry with multi-contributors throughout the lineup. They defend and rebound and run like Izzo teams of the past – and it doesn’t matter who it’s against.
So my message I make to my fellow Michigan Wolverine brethren is this – I just say, let’s just endure…let’s stay classy…internalize any bitter feelings as best you can…suck it up…yet be fully confident that way better times are just around the corner for the Jim Harbaugh-led Michigan Football program – and continued success for Michigan Basketball.
And let me close by confessing this — if Michigan State does manage to defeat Duke on Saturday in the Final Four semifinals (which is clearly a strong possibility), I will be going through my 48-hour exercise of mentality preparing myself for a MSU National Championship – and all of the annoying hoopla that goes with it. Because let me make this prediction – beating Duke’s most talented starting 5 in college basketball prompts this sudden gut feeling that State is going to find a way to win Monday night as well (whether it’s Kentucky or Wisconsin) and cut down the nets and roll tears for One Shining Moment. Sparty mania blitz will absolutely engulf me locally and from afar. And I have to prepare myself for that…ugh…I truly cringe at the thought.