Wow I'm still floating on cloud nine after that gritty win by Michigan State over Duke yesterday!! Talk about the perfect narrative for this MSU team to beat mighty Duke, who had arguably the best collection of college freshmen talent on one team in the one and done era and quite possibly of all time (I said arguably because Fab Fivers would never agree on this). David slayed Goliath and Izzo overcame his kryptonite all in one fell swoop over 40 minutes of intense basketball. This team, this year has proven all season that it is one of Izzo's most mentally-tough and battle-tested teams. They are certainly not his most athletic or his most talented team. Yet they continue to win. They have survived major injuries (Joshua Langford, Kyle Ahrens, Nick Ward). Yet they continue to win. They never get too high nor get too low. They don't panic and believe they can beat anybody which they proved over the weekend.

The turning point to this season was in early February when Michigan State was in the midst of a three game losing streak and losing to some pretty bad teams in the process. During this time, MSU also learned that Langford would not return and would be out the remainder of the season. Kenny Goins, their superstar walk-on senior, when asked about the losing streak had this to say: "You either nut up or shut up right now… It’s time for guys to step up. It’s all heart and balls right now." The team bought into that concept and since then have won 14 out of 15 games, won the Big Ten regular season championship, won the Big Ten tournament championship, and beat Michigan three times over a three-week period to win those two championships. And this is the SAME Kenny Goins that buried the winning 3-point shot in yesterday's game!

As far as the game itself, it was a game of runs in the first half. MSU jumped out quickly against Duke 14-7. Then Duke went on a 12-0 run to go up 9 against the Spartans 30-21. I was very anxious at this point and sweating bullets. The Spartans responded by going on a 13-0 run to close out the first-half and take a 34-30 lead into halftime. The second half was like a heavyweight battle. Each team traded blow after blow after blow until the very end. I don't know the actual number but there were so many lead changes and ties in the second half. MSU would go up by 4, Duke would storm back and go up by 3 or 4, then MSU would come back and go up by 2. You get the picture. Then with Duke up by one with 34.8 seconds left in the game, my man Kenny "Nut up or Shut up" Goins let fly a three-point shot over the out-stretched arms of Zion Williamson that found nothing but net…MSU up by two!!! After Duke made one of two free throw attempts to pull within one point, my man Cassius Winston broke away from a Duke defender on the last in-bounds play and outran the entire Duke team for the last 4.7 seconds to end the game and punch the Spartans ticket to the Final Four!!

On Saturday, Michigan State will face three-seed Texas Tech who is playing as well as anybody in the country right now. A very dangerous team with the #1 ranked defense in the country. MSU is no slouch either with the #7 ranked defense in the country. However, I believe the Spartans have enough balance to overcome Texas Tech and their defense. MSU also has the #4 ranked offense in the nation so I believe they have just enough to pull away late in the second half against the Red Raiders and win by 4-7 points. Don't get me wrong, this will also be a heavyweight battle but the battle-tested Spartans will prevail and march on to the National Championship game on Monday!