A fortnight is a long time to wait.
The Michigan State Spartans finished the regular season Saturday on a sour note, losing to rival UMAA in the conference tournament semi-final.
Tom Izzo and his team left New York City looking out of sorts and searching for answers.
Although their 29-4 record and regular season Big 10 Championship are tremendous accomplishments, the team and their coach must now regroup as the NCAA Tournament looms.
They have plenty of time. Because of the Big Ten Tournament being held a week earlier than usual, the conference teams selected for the NCAA Tournament will have an extended break between action.
Will this be a good or bad thing for the Spartans?
As the great Tom Petty told us, The Waiting is the Hardest Part.
Scenario 1 – Good:
Barring any fresh news (this year, that in and of itself seems like a long shot), the Spartans could, for the first time in weeks, find themselves off of the front page.
It is also Spring Break on campus next week.
After a tumultuous and stressful season, both on and off the court, this can be a quiet time to re-center and recharge.
They practice hard and stay sharp. Study film. Receive treatment on nagging soreness and small injuries.
This is a talented team with deep leadership and a lot of deserved confidence. It’s just one loss, after all.
They stay loose and ready.
Scenario 2 – Not Good:
Without being able to get back on the court to remove the bitter taste from their mouths, the frustration of the UMAA loss eats away at the Spartans and their confidence.
Two weeks is a lot of time to think. The players are tight, worried about recent close games and the UMAA loss.
They get rusty. The two-week break has them playing out of rhythm and out of sorts.
The Crystal Ball Says…….
I think that Izzo and his assistants will strike the right balance with this bunch during the break.
As a group, this Spartan team has shown itself to be plenty tough and resilient.
They have just completed a championship season.
They have survived a season of lingering questions and accusations regarding a multitude of off court issues.
There are some high character young men on this team.
The Spartans will come out of this extended break ready to go.
There is absolutely no way that I could finish without this homage…..