A viable reason can easily become a sad excuse. Just as easily "bad luck" can reveal itself as part of an identity. Nobody ever wants to see a team decimated by injuries. Injuries are a variable that many times do come into play in terms of how things play out for any given team in a season. That being said, this display from Michigan State as to the extent of their injuries and the effect it had on last nights has truly become embarrasing for them. From the miniute Brandon Dawson puched Dan Dakich in the.....um, table, table I guess, the rhetoric gushing out of East Lansing and onto ESPN and finally, desperately, pouring out of Dick Vitale last night when it became clear Michigan was leaving with a W has left me losing a certain degree of respect for Michigan State's basketball program. In one way or another, injuries have taken stage front center of the multitude of excuses coming out of East Lansing in the last several season for results on the court. They are an ace in the hole, a fallback that can be dispersed it seems at the will of Tom Izzo to justify any form of underperformance from his team, in a loss, in a close win, in November, in March, whenever it is needed it is there, and the local and national media just start lathering up in it at a moments notice.
I used to really respect Michigan State as a basketball program. At one time, they were a no non-sense, no excuses outfit. They were tougher than you and they wanted it more that you, and you knew it. Now, they are a program that diverts the attention from a truly remarkable basketball game last night to an excuse for their loss, and basically, refusing to acknowledge the result of the game as legitimate. I have never liked Tom Izzo or Michigan State, because they are Michigan State, but I have always respected the hell out of them for the type of program they were. It was the type of program that I wish Michigan had. I now could not be prouder of the distinction between the programs and the way it responds to wins and losses and the way it carries itself in regard to a worthy opponent. That was a great win for Michigan. There is no asterick, there is no qualifier. That is the headline after last nights game and I would have a lot more respect for Michigan State basketball if that was their bottom line after a really great college basketball game.