What Happened to the Party?

Bill Marklevits


This picture says it all.  Photo courtesy of Bill Marklevits.
This picture says it all. Photo courtesy of Bill Marklevits.


East Lansing -  Has the New Year’s party ended?  Last I remembered we were reveling, really excited about our Big Ten champion football team having the opportunity to knock off Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide in the Capital One Bowl.  


Tom Izzo’s NCAA tournament savvy veterans Kailin Lucas, Durrell Summers, Draymond Green and crew after getting a Big Ten opening win over Minnesota were going to march through the Big Ten grabbing back to back conference titles on the way to Houston. 


2011 surely would find the Spartans in their third Final Four appearance in a row, this time sealing the deal and bringing MSU’s third national championship back to East Lansing.  


That’s what I last remember us talking about and planning on.  With the festive atmosphere,  I must have had too many and ended up dazing off.  Somebody must have put something in one of my drinks, one nightmare after another starting flashing in my eyes giving me an awful headache.


First on a beautiful sunny New Year’s Day in Orlando our Spartans were destroyed.  Nick Saban’s team with no national championship on the line was supposed to go through the motions, surely Mark Dantonio’s Spartans wanted to get their first bowl victory more.  But I kept seeing the big and fast guys in the crimson helmets dancing into the end zone while their defense knocked our guys, Kirk Cousins, Mark Dell, and even back up QB Andrew Maxwell out of the game with slobber knocker bone crushing hits. 


At Penn State, MSU blows a five point half-time lead and seven second half turnovers and 36% shooting result in a 66-62 loss. After over-time victories at Breslin over nemesis Wisconsin and then seeing Draymond Green steal the ball for a dunk and Keith Appling canning a three to gain a 71-67 OT win over Northwestern my head feels a little better. Then the headache comes back after the Fighting Illini shoot 53.2% sticking the Spartans with Big Ten loss #2 in Champaign. 


Then on the ESPN College Game Day prime time stage the Boilers shoot lights out (62.1%) breaking open a 26-26 tie scoring 15 of the games next 17 points on the way to an 86-76 victory and the Spartans second road loss in four days.


Then a message comes from MSU basketball in the middle of the night.  Nothing good comes in the middle of the night.  The message from Tom Izzo says that fearless junior PG Korie Lucious, who made arguably the biggest three point shot in MSU NCAA Tournament history, is no longer on the team. 


MSU’s fourth leading scorer (7.4 ppg), and his 4.1 assists, and 24.4 minutes per game is suddenly gone. Those minutes now must be shouldered by an over worked Kailin Lucas and walk-ons Austin Thornton and the pride of Okemos HS Mike Kebler.  The headache is turning into a migraine.


Ah------ getting back to Breslin and beating up on Michigan for the 12th straight time, and 19th of the last 22 basketball rivalry games surely will give some relief.   Michigan’s Zach Novak cans four three pointers in the first half and two more in the second.  After a Kailin Lucas led furious Spartan come-back cuts the 14 point lead to two with 1:47 to play, the Wolverines Stu Douglas makes his first of four three point attempts with just 22 seconds on the clock and the Spartans are walking off the floor with their heads down and a 61-57 loss.


The 1,181 day stretch of MSU not losing a football or men’s basketball game to the hated rivals from Ann Arbor is over.  A streak of not losing to M at Breslin in 14 years – gone.  With the fourth Big Ten loss this month, all chances of a share of the Big Ten title – gone.  Now talk starts of MSU being a bubble team and possibly breaking the coveted Izzo record of 13 straight NCAA Tournament appearances.  Izzo says “It is my job to get this team out of the gutter.”  The State News says Spartans hit “Rock Bottom”.


What is going on here, my head is killing me, what was in that drink….. This is not the 2011 we were planning on.  After this one month nightmare I can’t watch any more, somebody wake me up and take me back to the party.    



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