We're now roughly 43 hours out from the commencement of the Michigan State basketball team's quest for a third national championship. And I'm of two minds.
The basketball analyst inside me isn't too optimistic. It's been a thrilling ride to get this far, but it's been a ride with razor-thin margins. In the five halves of basketball MSU has now played following the end of Kalin Lucas' season, there have been 151 possessions each for the Spartans and their foes. In those possessions, the MSU players have scored 166 points. Their opponents have scored 165. Since the Spartans started the first half of basketball in that sample with a 9-point lead, that's been enough to secure three victories. But it's not an encouraging statistical predictor. (Key question: Can Mr. Summers keep it up? Disconcerting stat given who our opponent is Saturday night: Opponent's free throw rate over the 100 Lucasless minutes is 43.1.)
The Spartan fan inside me, meanwhile, is packing the immediate family up at 8:00 tomorrow morning to drive to Indianapolis. The same white-block-S-on-Spartan-green-background shirt that helped secure two wins at Lucas Oil Stadium 53 weeks ago is packed in my suitcase. Michigan State's all-time 7-0 record in NCAA Tournament games played in Indy is securely implanted in my consciousness. Tom Izzo's well-established track record and Draymond Green's personal NCAA career record of 9-1 calm my nerves. The dream scenario is tantalizingly dangled in front of us.
Let's hope fandom trumps analysis. Fight for the the only colors.
P.S. I hope to check in a couple times over the weekend--and you can follow whatever spontaneous insights pop into my head on Twitter--but LVS and Pete will be running the show until (at least) next Tuesday night.