Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mich/MSU hoops. The word is...

Well, I don't know what the word is. The way MSU manhandled UM, describing it as just a loss or a defeat wouldn't do it justice. Nor would romp, rout, blowout, beatdown, or trip to the woodshed. Slaughter is getting a little closer. What comes after slaughter? 

Though the final score was 75-52, it looked like if MSU had really wanted to put the hammer down they could have won by at least 30. Maybe 40. Minus the blood and gore, it was like the Christians being fed to the hungry lions back in ancient Roman times.

That "little brother/little sister" thing the two schools have traded barbs over in the past was at least temporarily emphatically decided.

Many, including yours truly, thought UM had a slight edge in talent, but also had to give the nod to MSU as far as better team chemistry, coaching -- and toughness. Few would have thought it would turn into the lop-sided contest it did.

After such a high profile game against a (former) Top 5 opponent, it's likely MSU will jump a few places from their #8 spot when the new polls come out. Conversely, it's hard telling how far UM (#4) will plummet. Not long ago, UM had flirted with even being #1 in the country a couple times. No more. They'll probably drop quite a bit, and it would come as no great surprise if they fell out of the Top 10 entirely.

Saying the Wolverines got exposed would be an understatement. Had it been much worse, they may as well have been stripped naked and paraded through the streets of East Lansing by the Spartans. Two of UM's leading scorers, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III, who were averaging about 16 and 11 points per game, respectively, got what? 2 apiece?

Sure, State head coach Tom Izzo said the right things after it was over. His team had played about as well as they could, and UM had had an off-game. Maybe, but it also looked like UM had ran into a physical, tenacious team that they had no answers for.

After a slow start to the season, it appears MSU is gaining momentum. How devastating such a loss to UM will be is unknown. Maybe they'll be able to shake it off and regroup. Maybe they won't. Hard to say. Worse yet for the Wolverines, they now find themselves 2 full games behind the Spartans in the Big 10 conference standings, including losing 3 of their last 4 games. That's a long way from being #1 in the country.

For the next couple weeks, the schedule works in UM's favor to heal up some. They've got home and away dates with lowly Penn State sandwiched around a home game with Illinois, whom they've already defeated on the road.

But then MSU comes to town for a rematch. No doubt, that game will be super-hyped as well. There's also no doubt Michigan and their fans will be geeked up to the max and want to exact a serious measure of revenge.

We'll see if they get it on March 2. Unless two very "different" teams show up from what happened in the first contest -- I wouldn't bet on it.

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