Yeah, yeah, I know. Michigan State can't be the Cinderella of the big dance because traditionally cinderella teams are ranked No.6 or higher. Everyone has told me that. So, why does it seem like they are?
The question of the day seems to be, how can I even consider a No.2 seed to be cast as this year's Cinderella when the whole concept of the Cinderella is that they are the come from behind teams that sneak in to win the games and capture the hearts of all the fans. Typically, a No.2 seed has already done all that going into the tournament.
Michigan State was no exception. Going into March Madness, the Spartans were deserving of their No.2 seeding since they went 26-6 for the season, 15-3 within their conference. They were even ranked No.1 in the Big 10.
The other way to become a Cinderella is yo have a really crappy season the year before and then come out swinging and make it to the championships, i.e. the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays and the Arizona Cardinals.
But, the 2007-08 season saw the Spartans go 27-9 and advance to the Sweet Sixteen in the tournament. Actually, they haven't had a bad year since like,1997. They've made the tournament every year since 1998. In that time they have racked in Elite 8 and Final Four appearances and even a National Championship.
So why did people seem genuinely shocked to see them in the Final Four this year?
Even my friend who is "Go State!" all day, everyday, was still a bit stunned to find himself buying plane tickets to go home to Motor City and scouting Stub Hub for Final Four tickets.
It's not like there weren't other upsets in the brackets--uh Cleveland State, anyone get that one right? Even Siena had a good run and almost took down the number one seed of the entire tournament in OT.
But, it was Michigan State that came out and actually did take them down--and only two days after Louisville decimated Arizona by about 40 points. Really, all it was, was another No.2 defeating a No.1, but yet, so many seemed completely stunned by the "upset."
That Elite 8 sent the boys in green back home to Detroit, Michigan for the Final Four, where they first took on UConn. They dominated UConn in the second half and rolled on to win 82-73.
They now head into the National Title Game against UNC, still in Detroit, which is a mere 75 miles away from Michigan State University. During the Final Four, there were about 70,000 MSU fans, and 7,000 other fans packed into the Ford Field.
Hope packed up and left Detroit months ago and the city has become a place where spirits are low. In the last year, they have been rapidly losing their esteemed title of "Motor City." Having the "underdogs" of the tourney coming home to battle it out has now breathed life back into the bleak town--in the same way that Seabiscuit and James Braddock (Cinderella Man) brought towns back during the Great Depression.
If that ain't a Cinderella story, than what is? Shoot, Disney can't write a plot line better than this one. Though if they do get the rights to produce this story, I would like Larenz Tate, Will Smith, LL Cool J, Tyson Beckford and Taye Diggs as Lucas, Morgan, Summers, Allen and Roe. Oh, and Mark Wahlberg as Goran Suton. What? I'm just saying, that would be HOT!
If the Spartans are Cinderella, then let me introduce to you the Fairy Godmother: Head Coach Tom Izzo (fo' shizzo)
Izzo has been the Spartans' head coach since 1995. Going into the tourney, his overall record for the last 14 years is 335-136.
Since 1999, the Spartans have made it to the Final Four five times under Izzo's coaching. In 2000, they not only went to the Final Four, but they also went on to defeat Florida 89-76 to win their second National Championship.
Oh, and since he took over, the Spartans have made the the college basketball postseason--aka, the tournament--every single year.
Izzo has been named Coach of the Year, Coach of the Conference, and I know dub him Fairy Godmother Coach of the Year. I'm sure he will love my pink, sparkly trophy I shall give him.