Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Michigan game is upon us

This is the third time I have tried to write this. I started writing on my phone, forgot to save it, went to do something else on the phone, and lost everything. I attempted a second try, and saw that, finally, a computer was free in our house. So here I am...

Today is the big day. Heart Attack Special Day. The culmination of what of one of our local Lansing sports talk show hosts David "Mad Dog" DeMarco calls "Prozac Week."

Bitter rivals Michigan State vs. Michigan in basketball: round two.

Can Michigan State continue the torrid shooting they displayed against Purdue on Thursday night? Or do they revert back to the "brick fest" of the Wisconsin and Nebraska games? Somewhere in the middle should be just fine, as far as I'm concerned. On the other side of the floor, does Michigan shoot the ball like they did in East Lansing last month? If so, it could be a season sweep for the Wolverines and I don't know how I'll take that. Probably not well. I may go into seclusion until the start of baseball season. (Tongue somewhat in cheek, there).

One fact I do know is that Michigan State is healthier than they were the first time these teams went at it this year. Winning basketball teams rely in synergy, and Branden Dawson had injured his hand only two days before MSU and Michigan played at Breslin. The Spartans had no time to prepare for life without him, had to scramble to put together a new patchwork rotation, but still played admirably in that game despite the circumstances, only losing by 5 to a team--the Wolverines--whose shooters were on fire that night.

Keith Appling is healthier and seems to almost have all of his strength and conditioning back. The same can be said for Adreian Payne. For both guys, this is may be their last shot at Michigan. I fully expect both of those players to give everything they have today. The bigger question may be what the other players like Valentine, Harris, Trice, Costello, and Kaminski bring. I can't answer that because I don't know. I hope they feed off the energy of Appling and Payne and the Spartans come away with a win. I hope that Valentine continues to play with the maturity he has shown in recent weeks, I hope that Harris shoots the way he did against Purdue and not Wisconsin.

I have to take a moment here and say that Michigan basketball is back, as if there was any doubt. The University of Michigan has far too many resources and history to continually field a weak basketball team. It just took the Fab Five scandal to be far enough away in the rear view mirror, and for Michigan to find the right coach in John Beilein. Believe me, I enjoyed the days when the Spartans beat the Wolverines in basketball like a rented mule, but those days are over for the foreseeable future.

Back to the game: I hope the Spartan basketball team can get some payback in Ann Arbor and that I and the rest of Spartan Nation can wake up with a spring in our step on Monday morning.

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