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Michigan State is no one’s Cinderella

Yes, MSU is an underdog against Duke, but the slipper doesn’t fit this giant of a team.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-LSU vs Michigan State Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, the Duke Blue Devils are a beast of a team. They are led by a Goliath, who has dominated every opponent in front of him. Onlookers laughed at the idea that anyone would beat them.

But the Michigan State Spartans are no David.

This year’s MSU team had a real argument to be a one-seed. Winners of the regular season and tournament Big Ten championship, the Spartans were considered a strong Final Four pick before the brackets were built. But now, with Zion Williamson and Duke waiting this evening, Michigan State is being cast as the unassuming underdog.

There is a game-plan to beat Duke. They have weaknesses. Granted, very few teams have been able to take advantage of them, and even after two close-calls they are still as strong as ever. Michigan State, however is a different kind of opponent than they have faced before. Not only do they have more skill than anyone else Duke has played, they are strong in some of the specific areas where Duke is vulnerable, as has been detailed before.

Throughout the season, Michigan State has played to the level of its opponent. Sometimes that has gotten them in trouble. But in the biggest games they have played the best basketball.

Michigan State may not win Sunday. Duke deserves to be the favorite. But to count out Cassius Winston and the Spartans is ridiculous. The Spartans need things to go their way, they will need their best players to be at their best and the role players to continue to play at a higher level.

Even then, they may need to make a shot at the rim in the final seconds.

They may need all of that, but none of it is out of the ordinary. Whatever happens Sunday, Michigan State is deserving of a Final Four appearance. Anyone trying to sell this team short hasn’t been watching close enough all season long.