I was sitting at the Big Ten Tournament in 2016 and watched Michigan’s Kam Chatman hit the buzzer beater against the top seeded Indiana at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the crowd fell silent. I was sitting next to an Indiana fan and I will never forget the words I said to him before he left, “better to lose this weekend than next weekend.”
MSU went on to win the Big Ten Tournament that year and then, well the MTSU game happened. Why does this matter? The loss against Michigan could be a silver lining.
Look, I get it. I understand that losing to the school from Ann Arbor twice in a season is rubbing salt into an already unhealed wound from earlier in the year.
But, the Spartans stubbing their toe in the semi-finals of the Big Ten Tournament may not be as bad of a thing as people are making it out to be.
If anything, the smack in the face by the Wolverines might be exactly what MSU needs to get the team back on track.
Let’s not forget about a few things this team has already accomplished including a Big Ten outright championship for the regular season AND not to mention the BEST record in the history of the school.
The team looked flat on Saturday, they let Michigan go to the line an unprecedented 33 times for free throw attempts and they shot 38 percent from the field.
But the good news is even as bad as they looked on Saturday, none of that matters moving forward. We stare the NCAA tournament in the face, survive and advance is the MO. Look at the banners that Tom Izzo has hung in the Breslin, he’s proven time and time again that he can win the big games in March.
Of the last five Final Four appearances that Tom Izzo and the Spartans have attended? They did not win the Big Ten Tournament in any of those seasons.
So I get it, it’s easy to stress out about Michigan State stumbling in Madison Square Garden. But, let’s not forget how deep the bench has been and how many guys have the potential to take over a game for the Spartans.
The starting five of Miles, Cassius, Langford/McQuaid, Ward and Jaren Jackson Jr. is arguably one of the best in the nation. Add Tum Tum, Ben Carter and Schilling who all have tournament experience under their belt and you’ve got a match-up nightmare.
Yes, this has been labelled as arguably Izzo’s best team ever as they finished the regular season with the best record for a Spartan team.
But, what has happened leading up to this point does not matter. You gotta trust in the banners, trust in Izzo and trust that the plethora of talent that MSU has will come to play in the next month.
Four game winning streak and the ninth banner for the Spartans gets hoisted for a Final Four. A six game winning streak puts Izzo’s second National Championship banner in the Breslin.
Don’t panic yet, just trust the MSU process.