Blog Entry

Hooray For The Underdog!--Michigan State Edition

Posted on: April 4, 2009 10:54 pm

I love pulling for the underdog.  There is just such a satisfaction in watching a team no one expects to win beat the favorite; it is truly gratifying.  This is why I chose the name "FavoredUnderdog."  It is also the reason why I intend to write these brief blog entries commemorating the achievements of certain underdogs.  They deserve recognition for their accomplishments, beating the odds and winning in spite of their "weaknesses."  This is a place to do so.

And, to begin this series, I think the little-Big Ten team that could should be the first honorary mention: the Michigan State Spartans.

In all honesty, I don't know much about the team.  I don't actively follow college basketball, though I do keep an eye and ear open to the events of the tournament.  While I might claim to be a Wisconsin Badgers fan (I am more of a fan of Wisconsin teams; I have no affiliation to UWM, instead graduating from UWGB), I do find it easier to cheer for teams in the Big Ten conference, including Michigan State.  Why?  It's simple: the Big Ten is rarely respected among the mentions of other, bigger conferences.  In other words, they are the underdogs.

And, so, I was immediately intrigued by Michigan State, ever since I watched them beat the former champion, Kansas.  It was then I started to see what a real underdog they were.  I read articles on this site praising them for their effort in defeating Kansas but not giving them a chance to beat Louisville.  They didn't have enough big stars; they weren't flashy enough; they weren't a power team.  In other words, they weren't a favorite.  Then they beat Louisville and reached the Final Four, but they couldn't beat UConn, right?

Wrong again "experts."

The Michigan State Spartans managed to prove that they could play against the big boys and won these games, despite no one giving them any chance.  I am proud of this team, but not because I am a fan.  I am proud because they are the underdogs . . . and they were victorious!

(Cue corny triumphant music that builds to a crescendo and ends on the word "victorious.")

Yeah, I know I'm not adding anything new and that much of this may seem like cliches (this is my first entry, so it has room to improve in the future), but that doesn't diminish the accomplishment.  They defied the experts and showed that they can be the better team, and they did it with "inferior" talent.  I don't know if they will win it all, but I'm not concerned about that.  I suspect that they aren't either.  They probably won't be given much of a chance once again, but what do they care?

They proved them wrong before.

Congratulations to the Michigan State Spartans and their fans.  And good luck against the next giant!


Since: Oct 18, 2007
Posted on: April 5, 2009 7:56 pm

Hooray For The Underdog!--Michigan State Edition

You join a large list of people who love rooting for the underdog.  There are different reasons why people do it, but I guarantee you will be cheering for them along with thousands of others who are doing so simply because they are "the underdog".  Having said that, I won't be cheering along with you.

Izzo has won before, so it's not like he is a stranger to success.  And you know all his players know that, and are motivated by that, and by him as a leader.  I think the first 30-35 minutes will be an exciting game.  But when it gets closer to crunch time, I truly believe that UNC just has too many weapons... too many ways in which they can hurt MSU.  Yeah, I'm surprised MSU beat UConn, but I wouldn't have said that they didn't stand a chance.  UConn has not looked like the monster I expected them to be when the tourney started.  Kudos for Mich State for capitalizing and pulling it out.

Playing North Carolina is, in my opinion, a whole different ballgame.  They've been dominant all year, and have played tough teams throughout the tourney.  With Ty and Tyler leading the way, it'll take an outstanding defensive effort by every MSU player to keep it close.

As for the whole Big Ten getting no respect, you are pretty much right on that.  I'm not gonna quote stats or try to build some case or whatever, but if memory serves, the Big 10 get lots of tourney bids each year... and each year they don't produce "as expected".  I'll freely admit I am one of the people who think the conference is overrated to some extent.  This year, the Big Ten teams did have a win percentage comparable to Pac-10 and ACC.

I live in ACC/Big East country.  But as a Terps fan, my default setting is hatred for the Tarheels.  ;-)  Not being a Big 10 fan, either, I have no idea who I'll be rooting for!  I hope to enjoy a good game, though.  Cheers!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or