Fear the Green

(Originally Published Sunday, February 1, 2015)

One of the biggest rivalries in college basketball revolves around the state of Michigan. Michigan and Michigan State have a long history of fiery, passionate interactions. Today’s game marked their 175th meeting. Michigan technically has the winning overall record with 97-77–90-77 after adjustments for cheating–however, most of those wins came early in their rivalry. Since 1995, MSU has gone 21-14 against the maize and blue monsters.

Both teams came into the game with a relatively similar record, though neither is currently ranked. The game started off with Michigan going on a 9-1 run after the first few baskets. It seemed as if State was somehow stuck in cement. They couldn’t hit anything. Not a 2, 3 or even a free throw! It was painful to watch. They ended the half with a field goal percentage of 29%! Luckily, the Spartans hit a streak at the end of the half to lead 29-24.

I have no idea what Izzo said to the team at the half, but they came out on FIRE. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Spike Albrecht were literally the only reason that Michigan had any gains in the second half. There were more that 15 lead changes throughout the game, but it wasn’t because Michigan was doing well and overtook the Spartans. Instead, MSU would occasionally have a brain fart and allow the Wolverines to score a few. Michigan State was up by 6 with a minute or so to go and all they had to do was hold off Bitchigan…ahem Michigan…from scoring. Quite unfortunately, the Wolverines ended up tying the game 66-66 with 19 seconds left. All State had to do was hold the ball until the last second and make an easy layup. Instead, Trice–who had been quiet most of the game–decided to take a 3-point shot. Granted he’s an incredibly 3-point shooter, but that wasn’t the time to be testing his skills. If only he’d made an easy shot, then the game would’ve been over.

Overtime began and let’s just say the Spartans crushed Michigan. State goes on to roll 10-0 on the Wolverines to end the game with a 76-66 victory. Denzel Valentine scored a whopping 25 points with 7 assists and 7 boards! Costello and Forbes chimed in with 10 points each and even though Trice screwed up on the last play of the game, he put up an impressive 8 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds. Once again, Tom Izzo shows his true power as a coach and recruiter. Thanks to the fabulous Izzone–State’s fan section–the place was electrified! I’ll leave it with a simple, go green!

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