Who would have known, I could have skipped the first 33 games of Spartan Basketball this season and cut right to the end. Last night's game had every single defining moment of this season all in the same game. Summers looking like a beast in the first half, Summers non-existent in the second. Flip the script for Kalin who in the first half, Kalin who's gonna kill ya in the second. Draymond's triple-double. Going down 10-0 to start the game. Being down 23 with 8:45 to go. Staging a near miraculous 21 point comeback from there.
It was all there, all of it. Yet, without watching games 1-33 I couldn't have appreciated how truly special game 34 was. Most importantly for 8 minutes and 45 seconds, I felt like a fan again. I was transformed to my 21 year old self who was in Breslin for the 114-63 pasting of Michigan in 2000. This game really turned out to be an epilogue for the regular season.
This year has led me to believe that State basketball fans have gotten fat and lazy. Izzo made the tourney, he put up a hell of a fight to a very talented UCLA team, and given the journey here, I think we all should be damn happy with that. Yet, this morning all I hear in the office is what happened? Where's our team? Blah blah blah.
I try not to be too much of a moral victory slappy, but in terms of W-L this season was and has been lost for months now. In terms of growth for Izzo and the program though, this season couldn't have been a bigger win for MSU basketball. It's good for Izzo to get knocked around a bit, it's good for the fans to get knocked around a bit. It's good for guys like Appling and Payne to be baptized by fire once in a while.
In 2014, I wonder if we don't look back at 2011 and say thank you. Thank you for a tough year that showed us what's important about our MSU basketball.