Netflix or Blockbuster Video? Spartans, It's Up To You

Netflix or Blockbuster Video? Spartans, It's Up To You

Crowley Sullivan

Netflix or Blockbuster Video? Spartans, It's Up To You

Tom Izzo has most important March Madness of his career in front of him.  

Contact @crowleysullivan

Question:

Is it fair to be skeptical about these Spartans as they now find themselves with a week to mull over how they were just dealt a second straight, nonstop series of gut punches from a group of UMAA players who, supposedly, don’t have the requisite toughness to handle Michigan State with efficiency, quickness, energy, and, yes, toughness?

Answer:

Yes.

As usual – and with all of the legitimacy that comes with it – I’ve read and heard and seen the references to March being Tom Izzo’s month.

There aren’t a whole lot of coaches who have shown the ability to ratchet it up when this time of year comes around in the way Izzo has been able to.

To be fair, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any coaches who sort of know what they’re doing when Tournament time rolls around.

Coach K, Ole Roy, Calipari, Jay Wright, Bill Self, Jim Boeheim – these guys have shown the ability to win some games, too.

And while I certainly don’t intend on coming across as this sort of a guy, isn’t it worth acknowledging that Michigan State last cut down that final net back when Al Gore was still in the process of creating the Internet (after he got it up and running, it still took a few years to hone it, enhance it, rev it up, add different font styles to the text, etc)?

I’m not saying it’s been a long time since Michigan State won a men’s basketball national championship.

I’m just saying that Blockbuster Video officially chose to not pay $50 million to purchase an upstart online video service called “Netflix” the last time that Michigan State won the national championship.

Netflix generated $11.7 billion in revenue in 2017.

Netflix boasts overall assets that total $19 billion now.

Blockbuster Video no longer exists.

This season’s Spartans have a roster filled with Netflix-esque studs who have all of the flash and star power that any program would love to have.

And let’s not overreact to the loss to the UMAA.

There are bigger goals ahead.

But a close look at the recent Marches point to a Round of 64 loss to Middle Tennessee State and a Round of 32 20-point drubbing against Kansas.

This is an important tournament for Izzo and his program.

Miles Bridges, of course, spurned riches to stay in East Lansing for another season and he didn’t make that decision in order to experience the excitement of the Sweet Sixteen.

Jaren Jackson, Jr will be wearing an NBA uniform next season.

And while the 29-4 record glows and glistens, it’s hard to not see that this team heads into March Madness with some holes.

Can Jaren Jackson, Jr. assert himself offensively in the low post in a way that creates havoc for opposing big men?

Can Jaren Jackson, Jr. avoid foul trouble so that his mere presence in the paint as a defensive weapon is felt throughout a ball game, particularly with advancement at stake?

Will Cassius Winston perform with the offensive efficiency from outside of the arc in the way he did over the last two weeks of the Big Ten regular season?

Can Cassius Winston protect the ball and avoid costly turnovers in pressure cookers with the goals on the line?

Can Matt McQuaid, Joshua Langford, Gavin Schilling, and Nick Ward elevate their games to meet the needs that March demands?

Can Miles Bridges carry this team to the final Monday night of the season by channeling an appropriate aggressiveness, an appropriate killer instinct, an appropriate contagious sense of urgency, and an appropriate ability to take full command of games with the goals on the line?

There is a lot at stake for this basketball program right now.

And, let’s all face the reality of the situation – the goal is a singular one.

The 2017-2018 Spartans didn’t head into this season with the goals of having a nice season capped with a nice run when everything matters the most.

The goal is to win this whole thing.

If Tom Izzo is to nab his second national title over his Hall of Fame career, it will mean much more than just a championship.

A championship would elevate his program to a position that he’s fought so hard reach for the last 18 years after the 2000 championship ushered in a period that still longs for further validation.

Anything less than a title this time around would leave everyone – Izzo, mostly – with a dispiriting sense that the chances to truly boast an elite program that belongs alongside the programs Izzo aspires to be compared to are slipping away.

That might not be fair.

But I’d bet that the wonks who sat in their corner offices of Blockbuster Video Corporate Headquarters in 2000 probably have quiet moments when they think that life isn’t fair.

I can say this on this day – it’s not fair that my car got stolen right out of my own driveway on Christmas Eve this past December.

It was nice of the bandits to leave a $20 bill lying underneath a rock right in the place where my car was.

So, technically, the pirates actually purchased the car.

But it wasn’t all that fair that they didn’t pay market value for the high performance vehicle.

 

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