It’s that time of year again. March Madness is now upon us and it looks like there are a few teams that can be considered favorites — including the top-seeded Florida Gators. While Florida might be the safe pick, the Michigan State Spartans are the favorite pick of many — including nearly every ESPN college basketball analyst.
Why is this a terrible thing for the Spartans?
Sure, analysts know the most about college basketball, but the Spartans know all too well what it’s like to be the favorite and it’s not a position they thrive in. Michigan State was ranked No. 1 earlier in the season and then felt the pressure, then going 8-7 in its final 15 games.
Now that the Spartans are in the NCAA Tournament as many people’s favorite to win it all, it’s time for them to put their blinders on. In order to have tunnel vision, the Spartans have to be smarter than the media.
Yeah, of course they believe they will win it all, but they want to do it against all odds. Michigan State has overcome adversity all season long with injuries to Keith Appling, Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson — but now they’re finally healthy.
That’s the worst part. The Spartans know how good they can be when they are healthy, but they want to sneak up on teams, not be the object of every team’s scouting and discussion.
Tom Izzo knows that being the favorite is never easy. As a No. 4 seed in the East Region, the Spartans have a “clear path” to the Final Four, according to many analysts. However, this year’s team is too smart to take the bait that it took once before.
Michigan State sung its own praises a couple months ago and that’s why it’s only a No. 4 seed.
Dawson and Gary Harris are showing maturity during the whole process, giving hope to the Spartans moving forward. When asked about their questionable seeding in the tourney, the two stated how some top teams don’t even make it to the Big Dance and that they should be happy that they are there. Harris mentioned not taking just getting there for granted.
With maturity comes success. This Michigan State team might just experience both in the next month.
Connor Muldowney is the Content Associate for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.