Tonight North Carolina and Michigan State will bring it all to the floor for a shot at an NCAA title. As a University of Illinois Fighting Illini Alum and Big 10 backer, I of course am rooting for Michigan State.
I remember the night just four years ago when it was my Illini facing the Tar Heels. All season long you ride the train over mountains and through valleys until you reach the final destination: the championship game.
Whether you’re at home screaming at a flat screen box or at the sports arena with face paint and a foam finger, nothing feels better then the adrenaline rush that comes at the culmination of March Madness when your team is playing for it all.
Trust me, I remember how it feels. I also remember how it feels to come out second. A great accomplishment yes, but I still want revenge. Right now, the Spartans are just the men for the job as they are also from the Big 10.
We all know the Tar Heels are no strangers to making appearances in championship games; we Illini fans especially remember.
Tonight the Spartans need to put on their game faces and show the world how impressive Big 10 basketball really is. It seems like the Big 10 always get the backseat to the ACC. This time I hope we can prove everyone, especially Dick Vitale, wrong.
And now for my game predictions.
While North Carolina is counting on Ty Lawson to break down the Spartans defensively, Michigan State can count on Kalin Lucas to match Lawson’s speed and ability.
The Spartans definitely don’t have North Carolina’s size, but they didn’t have Connecticut’s either and still prevailed despite ALL the doubters.
Michigan State should also concentrate on drawing fouls from Tyler Hansbrough. In his last two games he’s been in foul trouble, so I vote we make him take the bench early and often. We also need Tom Izzo to do what he does best, possibly put in some of his bench to catch the Tar Heels by surprise like he did against Connecticut.
Of course we can’t forget that the players also need to bring their A-game. With that, the rest is up to them. I know I have a lot of Illini fans with me when I say I hope the Spartans can stop the Tar Heels tonight and pull it off for the Big 10 (and Illinois).
The game is set to get underway in about 15 minutes from Ford Field in Detroit on CBS.