Monday, February 22, 2010
...because if you leave it open, eventually it becomes awful. In anticipation of tomorrow's Porn Day here (if Nate B's mother doesn't make the list, the list is a joke!), we are going to talk about some college hoops. In fact, every Monday through the championship game, we will be talking about roundball. Why? Because college basketball this time of year is awesome...and there is no football.
I'm watching the Ohio State/Michigan State game yesterday afternoon and something dawned on me while I witnessed Sparty lose to a team that any MSU team in the past decade would have beaten by 20: this program is off. Something isn't right. These aren't the same Spartans that I am used to seeing.
Let's say that you go to the grocery store and pick up a bag of cool ranch Doritos because they are awesome. You get home, open the bag, and plow through half of it in 5 minutes. Realizing that you want to have some around for a later date, you put the bag down and store it for future awesomeness. And that's the thing. You remember to close the bag so that the next time you go after them, they still have the same great taste. The crunch is very important to the overall satisfaction of the chip. If you keep leaving the bag open, eventually, those once great Doritos are going to turn into a sort of thing that tastes like Wheat Thins and shit. Basically, just don't let those fuckers get stale on you.
That is exactly what is happening in Lansing and Tom Izzo is just letting it happen. Sure, they are still a top ten program in college basketball and the best in the Big Ten and there isn't necessarily anything wrong with that. But is that good enough anymore? Yeah, they are pretty much a lock to make it to the Sweet 16 round every year (with exceptions of course), but they aren't a threat to win the title anymore. And they haven't been for 5+ years now.
Izzo got his bag of cool ranch Doritos a decade or so ago with Mateen, Mo Pete, and Company. It appeared to be a bottomless bag of greatness that would be never-ending. But he started losing his assistant coaches and seemed to shift from recruiting the studs to recruiting good players that would stay for four years (Zach Randolph likely helped with that...and Marcus Taylor, too). So little by little, he wasn't closing the bag after every use. It's about 80-85% shut still today, but air is getting in and the program is getting stale. They are boring. They don't churn out pros. They win 20+ non-descript games per year. It's the same old thing and it's starting to get dull to me. Kalin Lucas is a fine player, but you aren't going to win a title when he is your go-to guy. Period.
Did that make sense? I think so. I've been nails recently on my analogies. Look, I'm not suggesting that Izzo needs to go, but he does need to do something to un-stale his product.
And that leads me to my question today: Would you rather have a program like Michigan State or Duke in which they will always be competitive but never a true contender for the throne...or would you rather be like North Carolina or Kentucky in which they load themselves with one-and-done's in an attempt to cut down the nets but there would be some down years while re-stocking the shelves? Personally, I like UNC/UK approach in which you bring in the studs and try to win with them while they are there. You worry about the future later. I'm interested in the response on this one actually.
Now if you don't mind, I've got to go polish off three bags of cool ranch Doritos. Remember...WE ARE TALKING PORN TOMORROW!!!