There is no case. You have come to the wrong blog if you want to see me enumerate even one reason for supporting the Spartans in the upcoming Final Four this weekend. I am a kind, big-hearted person, but my Michigan blood runs thicker. As P.C. as some seem to think it is to express even mild support for MSU and Izzo as they fight for a national title, I intend to give them the same loving support they've given us over the years. I've heard all the reasons I should support them and the taunts about my decision not to. Here are just a few:
"It's good for the Big 10."
Yes, it's wonderful for the B1G as a conference. Everyone thought this was a down year for B1G hoops and look - here they are making up 50% of the Final Four. Is that which is good for the whole equally fabulous for the 14 individuals? Not necessarily. In addition to the conference, it's perfect for MSU and Wisconsin - a boon to their recruiting, especially any kids wavering in their choice. It doesn't help the Wolverines and Beilein, though. They already have to fight Izzo for top talent both in-state and out. I'm not worried about Michigan recruiting at all right now, but to think an MSU championship is "good for us" is crazy talk. Like OSU's national title in football is good for us. Only when we beat them.
"We [the Spartans] would support you [Michigan] in the same situation."
With the exception of State friends I can count on 1 or 2 fingers, no, you would not. I've been in plenty of places both public and private when Michigan was playing a big game, sometimes to advance in or win a tournament. Those one or two Spartyfriends may wish us well, but for the most part, Sparties want us to fail in epic fashion on a national stage as much as we wish the same for them. And this is one of those times.
"But you have to admit Izzo's a great coach. You have to respect him. You'd take him in Ann Arbor in a split second if he was available."
I'll split this issue. I think he is a great coach. He did a lot with an average team this season and he's not done yet. Do I have to respect him, though? I don't disrespect him. He's 10x more likable than Dantonio, but I'm not going into paroxysms of loving praise for him, either. There's plenty of that in the media right now. I'm perfectly happy with John Beilein in Ann Arbor and don't think we need an Izzo to make another run. It was a tough year for the Wolverines, but I didn't expect greatness this time around. Sparty can keep Izzo. We'll be fine in short order.
"What an amazing tournament record!"
Yes, yes. Usually coming out of the easiest region. With the MSU AD on the tournament selection committee. His teams play well in the post-season, but it's often on the path of least resistance. Or so it seems to my highly objective (?) Wolverine eyes.
"Yeah, well that's the kind of attitude we expect from Walmart Wolverines."
Stop with the Walmart thing and maybe I won't go on about Sam's Club Spartans. Want to remove all the Spartan fans that didn't graduate from MSU from the Spartan cash flow? You know, those ones who fit your Walmart definition? Yeah, I didn't think so. So leave our fans, however they became fans, alone.
"Michigan can't handle that MSU is elite in basketball and elite in football."
To this I say, the truly elite don't have to argue in support of their elite status with every single breath to anyone who'll listen. Elite status isn't conferred internally. It's recognized by others. If you want respect, don't keep begging for it so damn hard. Stop whining when the love doesn't come. When you call yourself elite and you need to sheepishly look to others to validate it, are you truly elite?
"So I guess you won't support Wisconsin either."
Where did you get that idea? Of course I'll support Wisconsin. The Badgers, as a whole, are pretty cool people. They don't struggle internally with an inferiority/superiority complex when comparing themselves with other B1G rivals. They aren't as big of a direct threat to our recruiting as MSU. Most Badgers I know support Michigan and frankly, everyone else in the Big 10 when those teams have a chance to do well and it's not directly impacting their own success. They're fun, happy people who can drink prodigious amounts of beer and worship cheese, both of which they gladly share. In short, they aren't small-minded mean little people who need validation.
"All the Wolverines wish us bad luck."
In the end, everyone has their own opinion in the case for supporting the Spartans this weekend. I don't care if other Wolverines have a soft spot for overall Big Ten success. By all means, wish the Spartans well if you feel the urge. I'm just not wired for it. I'll congratulate my "normal" Spartyfriends if the situation calls for it. I would acknowledge their happiness as they would mine if the situation was reversed. Hopefully it won't come to that. This is what I foresee (although by the shattered state of my brackets, my gifts for prediction are suspect):
My heart - Wisconsin over Duke
My brain - Kentucky over Duke
Go Blue! And this weekend: Go Badgers!