Spartans Fall In Front of Cameron Crazies: Take Valuable Step Toward March

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12/1/2010

Durham, North Carolina

Duke 84, Michigan State 79

It seems like the Spartans go through it every December, growing pains that is. They gave the best effort of the season, but came up short in ACC country. Make do mistake about it, Cameron Indoor Stadium is nation’s the premier college basketball venue.  It is a high school gymnasium on steroids. So intimate and so small, the mice are buying tickets to find room in the ductwork. That is what gives it its charm, its terrifying presence and its home court advantage. The students are all of twelve inches from the court.

MSU fans bemoan these early losses every year. Tom Izzo sends his kids into the dragon’s lair every year to face the best and last year’s national champion Duke was no exception. If all goes as planned, these two teams will line up in the Final Four and if they do, they will likely play one another again. It is precisely why this game was scheduled.

I don’t want to minimize the importance of this game. Beating Duke in Durham would have meant a lot to MSU fans. The truth is that it really didn’t mean a whole lot other than it gives the media something to chirp about. After last evening’s game, this is what we know:

  • Duke has an amazing home court advantage.
  • MSU’s off-season injuries set them back in terms of team chemistry and cohesion.
  • MSU finally decided it was time to rebound the ball.
  • Kyrie Irving is likely a ‘one and done.’
  • Duke is more of a finished product than MSU at this point in the season.
  • Garrick Sherman has the potential to be a double figure scorer.
  • The more Payne plays the better he gets.
  • Summers needs to show up earlier in these big games.
  • Korie Lucious still has his Final Four swagger.

As a Spartan fan, I really didn’t want to lose this game. As an objective reporter, I have come to realize that the experience was invaluable for our kids. Duke’s star freshman point guard bombed the Spartans for 31 points last night. Think Izzo will have a little something to remedy that by the time we see them in the tourney? Think our kids coming up five short in Cameron believe we can play with these guys on a neutral court with the Spartan fan base solidly behind them? Think that this team will improve over the Christmas holiday? Even if this game did have some impact on our seeding in March, is there a difference between a 2,3 or 4 seed?

I am glad we played them. I am glad we played them well. Two of the best coaches getting their teams ready for March is what we witnessed in Durham. With any luck, we’ll see them in the Final Four. GO STATE!!

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