I'm really, REALLY disappointed and upset about that MSU-OSU game. I mean, I'm REALLY irritated. I've managed to keep most of the games in perspective this season, but this one is tough to swallow.
And here's the thing: Michigan State WON the Big Ten championship. Granted, they are sharing it, but they WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP. This is a team that everyone (well, all non-MSU fans) wrote off at the beginning of the season, the team picked to finish FIFTH in the conference and barely make the tournament--certainly not a team that was expected to be in contention for a conference championship or have a top 5 ranking at the beginning of March.
Yet here I am, fresh off a regular season that far exceeded expectations--whining, complaining and ticked off because MSU has to share. If I was on the outside, watching a fan of any other team do that, my response would be an incredibly indignant: "REALLY?!?!" followed by a derisive "your team won the conference. Stop crying about it and shut your mouth."
So that really made me reflect on it because frankly, my disappointment isn't really a normal reaction.
(ASIDE: One thing I think I AM justified in being really sad about is Branden Dawson and his season-ending ACL injury. AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL. He is such a HUGE part of our team and we NEED him. Also, I always feel for any kid who has a season-ending injury, ESPECIALLY late in the year. It totally sucks. End aside.)
This is the thing: When State started playing well and winning and climbing the ladder of victory, I got excited. I said from the beginning of the year that MSU would be better than everyone gave them credit for...AND THEN THEY WERE!
After last year's awful season, this is exactly what I wanted and needed and hoped for. And you know what? I got greedy. I didn't just want to finish near the top, I wanted to finish AT the top. And then I wanted to finish at the top ALONE. Oh, and I started to want that NCAA tourney #1 seed too. Why? Because I'm spoiled. We're all spoiled. I've been to 3 Final Fours in 6 years, seen several Big Ten titles, read and listened to countless media outlets sing Izzo's praises and generally enjoyed an obscene number of victories. It's not a question of IF we'll make the NCAA tournament, but where we're seeded. And after last year's horrible showing, I wanted to erase those memories as quickly as possible.
I couldn't even tell you how MSU blew that 15 point lead and lost that game. Normally I'm pretty analytical and can say, "OSU did this and MSU did that and here's what happened." Not this time. All I know is we were winning and it felt great. And then we were tied and Buford was hitting the game-winner with Appling in his face. And the final dagger through the heart? MSU controlled their destiny. All they had to do was win 1 of their final 2 games...and they couldn't. I know that this team is young and I often forget that because of the great senior leadership they have. But that part ticked me off too. THEY needed to make it happen. And they didn't. I know that experience will come in time and those kids (emphasis on KIDS) have played their butts off this season. But it still stings.
So that's the first part. I'm just a spoiled brat. But then I realized there was a little more to it than that....
It was also SENIOR DAY. And more importantly, it was DRAYMOND GREEN'S Senior Day. And DELVON ROE'S Senior Day. And AUSTIN THORNTON'S Senior Day. And I wanted those guys who all worked so hard and been through so much and truly shown what it means to be a Spartan, to have their moment. To be able to have the fans at Breslin and thousands of fans watching on TV see them get buzzed out one at a time, kiss the floor and wave to the thunderous ovation of the crowd. I wanted them to have that time and they didn't and couldn't. I wanted to see DayDay come off the floor and hug Izzo and tug at the heart strings of Spartans everywhere. It should have been a celebration and instead it was disppointment over a loss and disappointment over losing Branden Dawson.
So that's where I stand. I'll get over it eventually and be ready to cheer this weekend during the Big Ten Tournament. But for today, I'm going to mourn the loss and thank the seniors...and hopefully stop whining really soon. ;)