Is this really happening? Are the Michigan State Spartans, the glistening flower amongst all of the Big Ten dandelions, really in the Final Four?
It wasn't supposed to be like this. Michigan State was supposed to be overrated. Yeah, they were good for a couple of wins in the tourney, but there was no way their style of basketball would work against the "big boys" from elite conferences.
When I wrote this piece, I didn't honestly think that it would come true.
Well, low and behold, a miracle took place. Yes, there should be no surprise when a No. 2 seed finds itself in the Final Four, but this situation is different.
It took a superb shooting night from Travis Walton, a marksman by no means, to slip past a hot USC team.
It took a furious comeback and sensational stretch by Big Ten Player of the Year Kalin Lucas to squeak by the defending champs.
Meanwhile, Louisville had just done things to Arizona that are illegal in 46 states. The Cardinals were primed for another Final Four, they just had to take care of business against MSU. No problem, right?
One thing that I have learned in my duration as a State fan is that a Tom Izzo-led team will not roll over for anyone. When the stakes are high and their backs are against the wall, that's when they are the most dangerous.
Yet, for some reason, when Michigan State makes a deep run, like it is doing for the fifth time in 11 years, it's a fluke. It wasn't supposed to happen.
Dick Vitale didn't think this could happen. Neither did Digger Phelps, nor Doug Gottlieb, nor Mike and Mike, nor Jay Bilas, nor Bob Knight, and there are countless others.
Luckily, it really doesn't matter what those people think. Izzo has yet again done a masterful job of getting his players to buy into his system. He has used the lack of respect to fuel his team.
We see this all the time. The 2004 Detroit Pistons used their lack of respect to beat a Lakers team in the Finals that sported four Hall of Famers.
The Arizona Cardinals got no respect and used that to make it to the most recent Super Bowl.
The same holds true with the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays.
The problem now is that once a team reaches the Final Four, it is tough to fly under the radar. There is good news, however.
Connecticut is favored by four points. Everyone is saying that UConn is going to win. No one is giving State a chance.
I would like to say something to all of these people:
KEEP IT UP!
Seriously. I would consider it a personal favor.
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