I've been away for a few days, but I still wanted to get in a couple sentences on Michigan State's humiliating exit this past weekend.
Spartans 74-92 Memphis
And here I was, all prepared to jump onto the State Bandwagon yet again as this team was headed for the 5th Final Four in the Tom Izzo era. And then after only 20 minutes, all of that was gone. Wow. What a beat down. The score doesn't even come close to doing justice of just how awful the Spartans looked for the majority of this game. Had I been told beforehand that State was going to put up 54 in the 2nd half, I would've liked our chances (I know the whole "if you told me ___ then ___" thing is a ridiculous way of analyzing things, but come on now: 50 to 20 at halftime? Seriously?) Not only was it a 30 point lead at the half, but I nearly turned into my father and just turned off the game and went to bed. He's done this something like 2,000 times in his life....I'm convinced that he's never actually witnessed one of his teams lose a game live. He's the type of a guy that turns a baseball game off after the 8th inning because the losing team is down a run and therefor has 0% chance of winning. I've tried explaining the rules of sports to him, and that sometimes there are like dramatic things that happen in certain scenarios that he would typically refrain from watching, but to no avail. For all I know he might be living under the assumption that the Patriots are the reigning Super Bowl champions.
Anyway, I tried my damnedest to soldier on and watch the rest of the game, because, you know, I didn't want to be the only dickhead on this campus that missed the greatest comeback in college basketball history, but that obviously didn't happen. Memphis looked insanely good in the first 20 minutes....some of the best basketball I remember seeing on the college level against relatively equal competition. The difference in the athleticism was staggering, and it was also laughable when MSU was trying to respond to one of Memphis' scoring possessions with a pathetic 14-foot brick from Suton or Naymick. It looked all the more embarrassing when put up against what appeared to be this generation's version of the MonStars. Yes, that's right, a fucking Space Jam reference. THAT'S how much college hoops I watch.
Also, I feel like I'm the only MSU fan/student/apologist who isn't madly in love with Drew Neitzel. He's a leader and he's tough and as every single announcer was seemingly required to say during every State telecast this year, he's a "gym rat." But other than that, I don't know. After watching him for 4 years, I see him as a streaky shooter who can gets open shots when coming off screens, and that's about it. He can't make space for himself off the dribble and he doesn't attack the basket terribly well, and on top of everything he lacks size. For the first few years he got by on the shooting alone, but this year he was clearly the subject of every opposition's defensive game plan. And because of the year he just had, he went from possible 2nd round pick in the NBA draft to having close to no shot at getting drafted at all.
Things looked a little better in the 2nd half for MSU, and they made the score look more respectable, which is probably all that Izzo was pleading from his lifeless team at halftime so that he isn't exposed as just an above average basketball coach.