March 30, 2001

Spartans have Staying Power

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Dear Reader — Please forgive me, for I have failed. During the past two years I have tried to help Shiva, Charles and Andrew become more knowledgeable about the world of sports. Obviously, I have failed.

Andrew has his background in news. Clearly, he is a useless fool whom we elected Editor in Chief of this paper out of pity. All of my attempts to enlighten this boy on the world of athletics were about as useful as trying to reason with a cow. He just stares blankly back at me, moving his mouth as if something substantial may come out.

Shiva and Charles are hopeless. They were my assistant editors for a year, and believe me, nobody knows better than I how moronic these two are. There is a reason that their nicknames in the newsroom are Tweedledee (Shiva) and Tweedledumb (Charles). I tried to ensure that The Sun would have editors who knew something about sports, but there just wasn’t enough to work with.

As evidence of the buffoon nature of these three, notice who they are picking in the Final Four — the wrong teams.

Shiva is taking Maryland. That’s about as likely as a man with one leg walking a tightrope.

Charles has Duke as his team. Perhaps the most reasonable of the three, but a short bench hurts when you have to play two good teams, who like to run, in three days.

Andrew is picking the Wildcats. Zona got lucky to get past an Illinois team which forgot to pack its basketball IQ when it left for the Alamo Dome last weekend.

And thus we come to the obvious pick for this year’s Final Four –Michigan State University.

Yes, I’m from Lansing, MI. Yes, I spent Thanksgiving weekend talking to Tom Izzo’s father at the Spartan Classic. Yes, this is the best team in the country.

Okay, MSU had an easy road the to Final Four, but don’t think this team hasn’t played in big games. UNC, Florida, Kentucky and Cornell all lost to the Spartans before the Big Ten season started. Besides, for much of the team, this is their third straight Final Four. This team defines battle-tested.

A look at the matchups:

Against Arizona, State will pound the ball inside to wear down Loren Woods and try and get the ‘Cats in foul trouble. This won’t be that hard. Andre Hutson and Zach Randolph run the high-low better than anyone else in the country. Arizona can either follow or give up easy shots. Pick your poison, Woods.

Charlie Bell is as good a defender as there is in D-I. He will slow down Jason Gardner or Gilbert Arenas, whoever Izzo believes to be more of a threat as the game goes on.

And the Spartans crash the boards like nobody else in the country, making up for the fact that it isn’t a great shooting team.

In the championship game, Michigan State will take either Duke or Maryland to task in the paint, and Bell will need to slow down either Jason Williams or Juan Dixon.

Another fact about MSU is that it is a very disciplined team. It will not have six people foul out of a close game like Illinois did. And with its depth, Izzo is able to keep putting fresh people on the court at all times.

Perhaps the biggest knock against Michigan State heading into the tournament was neither its talent nor coaching, but its desire. That could have played a factor in the early rounds against easier teams — NOT in the Final Four. NOT against the top competition in the country. NOT with back-to-back national titles within reach.

If you think Bell, Hutson and Thomas don’t want this, then you probably don’t want to graduate from Cornell either.

When there is only one team left standing on Monday night, you had best believe that the great state of Michigan and one relocated Michigander will be all smiles.

Archived article by J.V. Anderton