If Michigan State beats Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament. Or wins the Big Ten Tournament. If Michigan State goes considerably deeper in the NCAA tournament than Michigan. OK, then the Spartans can maintain their claim as the preeminent college basketball program in this state.
And I'll be the first to give MSU that credit. And I said as much in my recent entry in this blog.
But to look at the vividly defined evidence that strongly suggests the Wolverines have pulled even with the Spartans on the basketball floor and refute it, is ridiculous.
- Same conference record.
- Split head to head.
- Michigan had a couple bad losses in the Big Ten. So did MSU. Remember Illinois and Northwestern? Michigan won road games in both those gyms. MSU lost there.
- I didn't mean to slight MSU's incoming recruiting class. I wasn't writing "War and Peace." Just an entry in my blog. MSU's class is excellent. But a strong case can be made Michigan's is equal. Let's put it this way, Tom Izzo would somehow find room for a scholarship for Mitch McGary, don't you think?
- Worse of all, is this pathetic whining by MSU fans when they are presented with the truth. It's like Michigan fans claiming the Spartans haven't pulled past the Wolverines on the football field based on the past.
They can't stand this behavior by Michigan fans, yet they are acting the exact same way, if not worse.
I said or written it a hundred times the last couple days. If the Spartans are really all they claim to be in basketball, they must prove it on the floor. Honestly, they didn't the last two games of the regular season. They blew it, and all the cache that would have come with a victory in one of those two games and an outright Big Ten title.
They have a shot a redemption this week in the conference tournament, especially if they meet either OSU or Michigan. And the NCAA tournament is even more important in that regard.
Until then, Spartans should quit thumping their chest about their three-way tie for the Big Ten regular season title and claiming entitlement based on 2010 and back.
Michigan can make the exact same claim about the conference title this season, and has played as well or better than MSU for nearly two seasons.
It's up to State these next few weeks to prove that's an aberration, not a trend.