Spartans Fail, Doom Entire State of Michigan

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↵⇥"They had been on an uplifting run, and the final chapter was supposed to be the national championship. It would, the storybook said, bring the definitive ray of sunshine to a city and state that's been battered by an ailing economy. " ↵
↵Are we talking about North Carolina and the people of Raleigh here, Mr. AP writer? Because we could be, if you'd like to toss the patronizing and saccharine line about Michigan State's potential basketball triumph inspiring a downtrodden state bereft of jobs, hope, or potential economic salvation. Michigan may lead the nation with a scorching 12 percent unemployment rate, but please note North Carolina has a 10.7 percent unemployment rate (good for 48th in the nation), having been sucked into the same subprime hole swallowing most of the economy whole. This is a fact conveniently overlooked by the AP, ESPN, ABC, and anyone else set on casting this as some kind of Depression-era prole drama where sport lifts the poor stupid masses out of their filthy misery for just one false but fulfilling instant. ↵

↵Roy Williams knows this is, for lack of a better word, complete crap. He said as much before the game. ↵

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↵⇥"There is not a question that they are trying to grab onto the carpet with the state of the nation's economy, particularly Michigan's, and the tough times that we have here," Williams said. "I understand that and I have zero problems, but you know things are not great in North Carolina, either. We are playing for the college and we are playing for the people in the state of North Carolina. ↵⇥

↵⇥"And I said, and I mean it -- if you tell me if Michigan State wins its going to cure our nation's economy, I'm going to say let's suffer for a couple of more days." ↵⇥

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↵The real storyline should have been enough: a scrappy Michigan State team somehow caught fire, rushed through the tournament, and ended up way over its head versus a gigantor UNC team. That's spectacular enough. Yet Mike Tirico's head is floating in the middle of my television screen last night intoning some tripe about how much this means to Michigan, and tying together some claptrap fable about how this has something to do with the fact that GM makes crappy cars with great cupholders and terrible automatic transmissions. They're connected, you see! Tom Izzo is just the man to bail out GM! ↵

↵Never mind that University of Michigan fans likely prayed for lightning to strike Izzo, or that everyone watching the game knew Michigan State was walking to the roulette wheel with one chip left and 38 spots to choose from. In some kind of effort to justify being there with a mouth and a mike, the media decided the facts of the event weren't enough of a story, and thus set up an awkward and embarrassing pity party for the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan, and the poor Michigan State Spartans, a group of basketball players caught in the middle of a drama that had nothing to do with them. ↵

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↵It's not that I don't like fairy tales -- I love them, especially the ones where people die. It's that I like particularly well-wrought ones with a lesson. The only lesson here, given the canned storyline, is that Michigan State's loss just snuffed out the last bit of hope in Michigan, and that the entire city of Detroit is being sold for spare parts and scrap meat to the People's Republic of China at auction later today. If only you'd not turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, Spartans! Jim Nantz says you could have saved the state, and Jim Nantz is never, ever exaggerating for the sake of pumping up a blowout-in-the-making with the cheapest sort of hackish melodrama. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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