A team knows they are attracting National Attention when the media start to nickname the game itself. The Michigan State Spartans will take on the Harvard Crimson on Saturday in what is being dubbed Sparty vs Smarty.
There are plenty of storylines to go around in this one. Harvard coach Tommy Amaker coached the Michigan Wolverines from 2001-2007 and had little success against the Spartans winning only 3 of the 10 match-ups against them. In fact the poor performance against their arch rival was one of the factors that led the Wolverines to dismiss Amaker in 2007. Now Amaker has his chance for revenge by knocking out the favorites to win the National Championship.
Amaker was a guest on the Shep In The Morning Show on WDFN on friday and when asked if his previous experience against the Wolverines would help him in this game his jokingly responded “Not based on my past record.”
Well his past history against the Michigan State Spartans as coach for the Wolverines might not help but that doesn’t matter now. Amaker has got his team playing disciplined and opportunistic basketball. If the Spartans play lose and sloppy with the basketball they may turn Harvard into this years Cinderella.
You could tell by the tone of the interview that Amaker has great respect for the Spartans and coach Izzo.
The respect is well deserved.
The Spartans are playing their best basketball of the season and Brandon Dawson and Adreian Payne are playing like they have something to prove after a regular season riddled with injury and inconsistency. Dawson has been on fire since returning from a hand injury and Adreian Payne just put up 41 points on Round of 64 opponent Delaware. But the Spartans do have a tendency to play fast and loose and when they do that turnovers follow. Committing too many turnovers against a well coached club like Harvard will cost them the game.
Prediction: Assuming they play under control the Spartans should easily win this game behind great performances by Adreian Payne and Brandon Dawson.
Start Time: Saturday March 22nd, at 8:40pm