Back to the Final Four!
Tom Izzo’s greatness goes beyond conjecture. In addition to (now) seven final fours, a national championship, and eighteen consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, Izzo’s greatness is statistically supported by numbers that indicate that his teams consistently outperform expectations. This year was no different, and I am ecstatic to be at MSU during the Spartans’ most improbable Final Four Run.
At the beginning and halfway through this season, I wasn’t entirely sure that this team would even make the NCAA tournament. Not only did the team lose games to Notre Dame, Maryland, and Minnesota because of questionable late-game decision making, the team lost to Texas Southern in a warm-up game back in December. Players looked unengaged and gave games away by playing too comfortably with the lead. Simply put, I was frustrated just watching this team.
Somehow, Tom Izzo took that same team, almost won the Big 1o Tournament, secured a 7 seed in the NCAA tournament, and then beat Georgia, Virginia, Oklahoma, and Louisville in two weeks. Along the way, I’ve grown to love this team and the effort the players have shown. Branden Dawson took over the second halves of the Georgia and Virginia games. Bryn Forbes has nailed a big three in nearly every game. Denzel Valentine sealed the Virginia and Oklahoma games with free throws as time ran down. Most of all, Travis Trice, the East Region’s Most Outstanding Player, has averaged nearly twenty points a game over the past 2 weeks with a collection of step backs, driving floaters, and fast-break dunks. Now MSU will raise another banner in the Breslin Center.
It has been a memorable 3 years for MSU athletics during my time in law school. I have been fortunate to watch Mark Dantonio and Tom Izzo lead their respective teams on to a Rose Bowl, a Cotton Bowl, a Sweet 16, an Elite 8, and another final four. Go green.