Upsetting No. 2 seeds
Whether you want to believe it or not, Michigan State is in the Final Four. And they got there by beating one of the best teams in college basketball. In the round of 32, Michigan State went toe to toe with Virginia, a team who could have very easily been a no. 1 seed in the tournament instead of Duke. Before Virginia lost to Louisville during their last regular season game and UNC in the ACC conference tournament they were widely considered to be the second best team in college basketball behind Kentucky. But Michigan State took the Cavaliers to overtime and beat them to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
Last season, UConn did something similar against a very athletic Villanova team. At no. 6 in the nation at the time, the Villanova Wildcats faced the UConn Huskies in the round of 32 only to get beat by 12 points effectively ending their season. This was the game that turned UConn’s season around. All it took was one good win against a heavily favored team and they were energized for the rest of the tournament.
There is something about an upset that makes your team think “We can compete with anyone.” And that is exactly what the Spartans have done since their big win vs. Virginia. Arguing that Virginia was under-seeded and Michigan State was over seeded is irrelevant. The point is that Michigan State is one of the four best teams in basketball during March. And that huge win against Virginia has placed them in that position.
Next: The Napier/Trice effect