First of all, Michigan State had no business making it into the NCAA hoops tournament field at all, much less being assigned a super generous #9 seed. Given how they played during the regular season, including their conference record, and their dismal showing in the Big 10 conference tourney, at best they should have been among the "play-in" teams, or more properly relegated to the second class NIT tourney.
Sure, head coach Tom Izzo can yuk it up after they handily beat Miami,Fla. But it was an illusion. State played horribly. Any half way decent team would have blown them out. Indeed, the Canes jumped off to an early double digit lead.
But then something astounding happened. As bad as MSU was, the U got worse. Much worse. It appeared their team went into a collective brain freeze. Assuming they have talented players, one could surmise the Canes somehow reverted to the mass intelligence quotient of your average brick. Either that, or their coaching staff is totally clueless.
Yours truly has seen a lot of college hoops in his day, and some are definitely better than others. But what the Miami group put out there after the first 10 minutes or so of play has got to be the most inept roundball exhibition of recent memory. They were just -- that -- bad. Pitiful. How in the world did this team win over 20 games this season?
This was not due to the Spartans suddenly playing really well. At best, they were mediocre, totally indicative of their record to date this year. Yet miraculously, they not only survived this game but won it by a wide margin. As mentioned above, this was a mirage. MSU still isn't any good. It's just that Miami was shameful. It was embarrassing to watch such a proud university stumble and bumble their ways around the court in such a hapless fashion. As Charles Barkley might say -- Turrible. Just turrible.
Next up for the Spartans are the Kansas Jayhawks, the #1 seed in their NCAA bracket. Like Dorothy famously said in the Wizard of Oz, we're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.
Nope, but somebody might want to tell Tom Izzo and his Spartans that THIS Kansas isn't like being in the doofus land of the Canes anymore either. Unlike the Wizard, these guys are the real deal.
And unless the Spartans somehow find a way to play out of their minds, not likely, the game on Sunday could get very ugly indeed.
MSU got away with an illusion once. Don't look for it to happen again.