Cooper Sports – NCAA Men’s Basketball

Written by Nick AKA “The Nate” Cooper

March 16, 2022

‘Tis the season for upsets, Cinderella stories, and introductions to new stars. From Murray State and
Davidson to Duke and North Carolina every year, every team in the field feels as if they have a chance to
raise the National Championship trophy. The NCAA Tournament has introduced us to Larry Bird, Steph
Curry, Ja Morant, and others who were highlighted by their run in this majestic playoff system. So many
unknowns who seem to rise to the moment. If one thing is certain, uncertainty is guaranteed.

Michigan State University Spartans

There is the unknown and then there is Tom Izzo. Izzo who has been to twenty-four straight NCAA Tournaments, eight Final Fours and won the ultimate prize in his time at Michigan State University. Izzo is among the all-time greats and his NCAA Tournament win percentage (.703) is that of the most elite of company. He has gotten the best out of many players- Mateen Cleaves, Draymond Green, Cassius Winston and so many others.

This year MSU tackles Davidson in the first round as the 7th seed in the West region that
includes Duke and Gonzaga who also have massive reputations for winning. Gonzaga the number one
overall seed in the field and Duke at number 8, both have top superstar prospects in waiting. Even in
the “worst of years” under Izzo, Michigan State somehow seems to find a way to make waves. With
four wins against Top 25 ranked teams this year, now is the time where, yet again, Izzo will have to get
the players together.

This team of solid depth can throw well balanced lineups into the game and flex with other team’s roster moves. Even though the outlook may be somewhat grim going into this region of the tournament Michigan State is set to be the Grim Reaper.

University of Michigan Wolverines

The University of Michigan is a bit of a different story as the 11th seed of the South Region facing
Colorado State in the opening round. Michigan limped into the Tournament having finished the season
with a 17-13 record. While they have budding stars in Hunter Dickenson and DeVante’ Jones, Michigan
has also been marred by controversy. Most notably the punch thrown by coach Juwan Howard, with frustration bubbling over in an unbelievable way.

In the South region that includes Villanova and Arizona, Michigan has the potential to band together and make a run based on lack of region depth. If former Wolverine, Howard, can get the best of what his top players are capable of then this team has the opportunity to erase some of this season’s disappointment.

Both Michigan State and Michigan are somewhat foreign to these positions in the field, but both have
the pedigree to surprise the field and return to their own program standards. Brackets are being filled,
teams are readying themselves for the madness, and fans are preparing to be wowed.

Keep April through February. Give me March. Give me insanity, excitement, and hope.

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