Spartans Beat Themselves 52-50 With Terrible Final Four Performance

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One of Izzo’s most frustrating seasons comes to an end tonight in Indianapolis.

One of Izzo’s most frustrating seasons comes to an end tonight in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis, IN

Lucas Oil Stadium

 

The Spartans lost to the Spartans tonight.

 

On selection Sunday the Spartans practiced prior to the bracket announcement. It was a meeting that the team had that inspired this improbable run. It was a meeting in which this team put aside an embarrassing loss in the Big Ten tournament and finally the dragon of distractions and lack of camaraderie seemed to be slain.

 

It was that coming together of the team that made me pick the Spartans to make it to the Final Four. It was that meeting that was the catalyst for when Kalin Lucas went down on the court in Spokane the team went from five fingers to a solid fist.

 

The Spartans lost to the Spartans tonight.

 

As long as this team stayed focused this team won. As long as this team played their game they didn’t have to be great, they had to just play. With the Spartans getting to Indy the stage was set for a second national title. The stage collapsed.

 

The Spartans lost to the Spartans tonight.

 

Distractions returned and a team that resembled a triage unit with medical problems that couldn’t overcome injury and distractions to even play their game. This team could beat all comers on their way to Indy injured. They couldn’t overcome opponents, injuries and distractions.

 

They held Butler to 24% shooting in the second half and a measly 30% for the game. Butler came into the game shooting only 148th in the nation from the three-point arc and was an abysmal 23% for the game. The Spartans held Butler to 52 points. They had the rebounding advantage. They still lost.

 

The Spartans lost to the Spartans tonight.

 

The frustration that will come from this game is not losing in the national semifinal. This program is about banners and the 2009-2010 team will hang two. The frustration will come from the fact that Butler didn’t beat the Spartans tonight, they did. The distractions caught up with them.

 

The Spartans lost to the Spartans tonight.

 

Losing with a litany of injuries isn’t a tough thing, but losing while distracted and simply being out of it is unacceptable. This was a tough year on the fans. It was a tough year on Izzo. It was a tough year on several members of this team. Made even tougher by the fact that the potential the nation saw by ranking them No. 2 to start the year finally came to a head in Spokane. After months of issues and drama this team seemed to click and it brought them all the way here to Indianapolis. As fast as the hope that had once been prevalent had disappeared and then came back: it was gone.

 

The Spartans lost to the Spartans tonight.

 

Like Lucy pulling back the football once again from Charlie Brown this team had ripped out the hearts of the Spartan Nation. Losing to Butler while playing well, but beat up, would have brought no shame. Losing to Butler with your worst performance and with a collection of guys that seemed out of sync was inexcusable.

 

Distractions can do that. Some teams can roll over non-basketball issues with ease, but this one is as schizophrenic as any I have seen and they didn’t roll over anything other than their dreams and hopes.

 

The Spartans lost to the Spartans tonight. 

 

I thought they were past distractions. I thought that this team’s cohesive unity that started on a Sunday practice three weeks ago, forged in Spokane two weeks ago, trusted in Saint Louis a week ago would take them to a national championship game.

 

Sadly, the Spartans will pack their bags and go home. They will have two banners and that makes it impossible to call this season a failure. What you can call it is a disappointment. Disappointing because when you get to a Final Four you want to at least lose to an opponent, other than yourself.

 

The Spartans lost to the Spartans tonight.

 

There are a lot of questions for this group of young men. Since that Sunday practice three weeks ago they had stopped being individuals and tonight they reverted back. How good can they be in 2010-2011? They could be national champions. The sad part is that they could also miss the dance. If the Spartan team of the first four rounds of the 2010 NCAA Tournament shows up, make your reservations for Houston. If the individuals of the Final Four show up next October, bring on spring football.

 

The officiating was horrendous, but it had nothing to do with it.

 

The Spartans lost to the Spartans tonight…52-50!