I knew the emails, tweets and comments were coming after Michigan State’s 72-68 loss Tuesday night to Indiana.
Hearing from a few folks, especially those on the Hoosiers side, was to be expected after writing a column for Tuesday’s Lansing State Journal, making the case that MSU is a better basketball team than Indiana.
And, of course, Tuesday night’s defeat makes the Spartans 0-2 this season against the Hoosiers.
The blind loyalty that exists for one’s team was often evident in these messages, some with anger overwhelming any logic. Others came with more reason.
Physically, I still believe MSU is the better and more capable team, with fewer defensive holes. But what Indiana showed Tuesday is that it’s the more mature team — that’s a worthy talent all its own — and that it has the best player on either roster in Victor Oladipo.
The Spartans panicked Tuesday. As I wrote in Wednesday’s column, they rushed and played unnecessarily frenzied. It was a strange issue for them to have, because this hasn’t been their approach to any other game.
MSU played one of its worst first halves and, overall, not a very good game.
But, pound for pound, the Spartans are the more talented crew — and Tom Crean and Tom Izzo all but said so Tuesday night.
Crean said his team won because it played “with great toughness and intelligence.”
And yet, still, if MSU, playing among its worst games, hits its free throws in the final two minutes, the Spartans beat the Hoosiers and are on top of the Big Ten.
Indiana would have played with no less toughness or intelligence and would have lost to a team playing undisciplined basketball, beneath the level its played over the last three weeks.
Izzo’s frustrating said plenty, too. This wasn’t a team that nearly upset a No. 1-ranked team. His team was one that blew an opportunity it should have taken.
If you disagree with me, that’s fair. But make a point. Simply questioning my sobriety kills your argument before its made.
Because there is a viable argument as to why I was wrong — and it has a ton to do with Oladipo, an NBA-ready guard with the will to carry a team past any deficiencies.
Make that point. Or make another (this was a road win in a difficult environment, for example). But make one. And put any rage down before you do. It’ll make your case stronger.