Friday, March 25, 2016

Putting the Middle Tennessee State game to bed, and what is going on with hockey?

In case you're wondering, I'm over the Middle Tennessee State loss. In fact, for whatever reason it never bothered me nearly as much as it apparently did my fellow MSU brethren. Don't get me wrong, it pretty much ruined the tournament for me (I've barely watched since the loss), but nobody has had to talk me off any ledges.

Even if MSU had made it past the first round, I'm frankly not convinced the Spartans were any guarantee for the Final Four anyway.

Speaking of the Final Four, my NCAA bracket is completely shot to hell. All of my Final Four picks have bit the dust. At this point, I'm reduced to finding the teams that would bother me least if they won it all, and pull for them. Those two teams are, in order, Villanova and Oklahoma. (I am most certainly NOT pulling for either North Carolina or Syracuse)

In other news, Mark Hollis has thrown his public support towards Tom Anastos and Anastos will get at least one more year as Spartan hockey coach. I really don't follow the hockey program closely enough to decide if this is a good idea, though allegedly Anastos has a good recruiting class coming in. Part of me cynically believes Hollis doesn't want to admit he screwed up the Anastos hire in the first place.

All I know is that if the hockey team has another season as awful as this one, the screws will turn much tighter and the small but vocal hockey fan base will clamor even more vociferously for a change.

Hockey is an absolute shell of what it was when I was a student (1986-1991). Students waited in line for season tickets, and the demand was so great that two different half-season packages were doled out. Of course, a large factor in hockey's popularity back in the '80s was that basketball then was woeful and football generally mediocre.

With Tom Izzo turning the basketball program into a national power, and Mark Dantonio (maybe) doing likewise in football, hockey's struggles are less noticeable. Frankly, outside of a handful of hockey diehards, I don't get a feeling that current students give a hoot about hockey. I'm not sure if the athletic department feels much pressure to improve the program. It feels like an afterthought these days. Perhaps this will only change if basketball slips in the future, or enough disgruntled hockey fans put up a big enough fuss.

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