First off, congrats to the Tar Heels and their fans on their championship. You guys are really annoying to us Big Ten fans, but what can we do?
The Magic just wasn't there for the Spartans last night.
Ever have that horrible feeling before a game that this isn't gonna be the night for your team? Well, when the sportscasters stated their prediction before the game that State would pull off the upset, I had that feeling. I think they jinxed it...
Next, I will say something that hasn't been stated on any of the columns I've read here on CBS about the game, such as this, this, and this (which talk about Tar Heel dominance and how they always knew that UNC was too good for MSU despite their previous articles that State had a good chance of pulling off the upset), State could have won.
Of course, this is an obvious statement. Going into a game, each team has a chance of winning. But I mean, down 55-34 at halftime, we (State) could have came back and won. We could have matched the records set by the Tar Heels for "most points in the first half" and "largest halftime deficit," not to mention the personal achievements of the players, with "largest second half comeback."
North Carolina practically opened the door for us. They even tried to usher us in, but we tripped on the doorstep, if that analogy makes any sense.
UNC, I'm not taking ANYTHING away from the 1st half performance of your team. You guys were on fire. As much as I loathe you guys, I was impressed. The Spartans were impressed too - so much that they gave the ball back to you. Almost twenty times as I recall. In the first half, you guys backed up your insane offensive show with a strong defensive stand. In the first half, the Spartans could have been better, but North Carolina DOMINATED - there is absolutely no denying it. I walked away to buy concessions (watched the game at the local theatre) feeling that UNC deserved to win it.
Then came the second half. Ugh.
North Carolina basically stopped playing offense. In the second half, they looked human. But we couldn't take advantage. Time after time, North Carolina missed a shot or turned the ball over. Opportunity knocked, time after time after time. But my Spartans couldn't take advantage, missing shot...
It wasn't so much that we were losing. It was the fashion in which we were managing to do it, after lighting up two straight Big East #1 seeds in ten days, that was frusterating. The Spartans must have gotten a severe case of the jitters or something. No MSU player was on top of their game the entire night. Each time we had a chance to chip away at the lead, we missed the shot or turned it over. I can only hope that we learn from the experience, as North Carolina did. We were a young team, and most of our key players should be returning for the 2009-2010 season. Hopefully next year, we will be better prepared, and can continue to produce for one more game in the tourney.
Quite frankly, I was surprised that State even reached the national championship, and I'm taking nothing away from their season - that was a heckuva run we made.
Congrats to both teams on a great season!
Until next time, Go State! Hopeful 2010 National Champions!