My Sparty wife Abs immediately stormed out of the living room after learning Michigan State was playing UCLA in a play in game for the right to play BYU in the NCAA tournament.
“We must really suck,” she screamed. “This is embarrassing.”
Actually it is not. She is used to seeing Richmond, South Dakota State or Oakland University fighting it out in play in games. It’s not like State is playing for the right to face top seeded Gonzaga, Baylor or Michigan as a 16 seed. The committee showed MSU respect by putting it in the tournament despite a 15-12 record. But at the same time it rewarded the Spartans for wins down the stretch over nationally ranked Ohio State, Michigan, Illinois and Iowa.
What do you do with a team that has shown that it belongs and does not belong in the tournament?
MSU was a tough fit in the tournament. Even during its finest stretch of beating four nationally ranked teams the Spartans had three double digit losses — two coming to Maryland who got a 10 seed.
The NCAA wanted State in the tournament because of past history. This is always a team that threatens to make long runs no matter how strong or weak. But you also did not want to punish a three or four seed by making them play the Spartans in the first round.
Imagine being Florida State, Arkansas or Purdue and your first round opponent is MSU? You’d be a little chapped by it.
By making MSU play in, we see if the Spartans really belong. They will play two games without facing a blue blood.
The Spartans could make the Sweet 16 by simply by stirring up three bowls of alphabet soup — UCLA, BYU and LSU. That’s doable and that’s fair.
Let me see if I can settle own my wet hornet wife Abs. State did not get screwed. This is not an embarrassment for the program. Let me see if I can just get her to enjoy the ride.Find Terry Foster Podcast here: