Commentary

Michigan takes a bite out of New York

Updated: March 5, 2009, 2:28 PM ET
By Mark Tennis | ESPNRISE.com

Great State Debate bracket

New York may include the greatest basketball city in the country, but apparently, the Empire State doesn't boast the most passionate basketball fans. In this week's Great State Debate semifinal, top-seeded New York was upset by No. 5 Michigan -- and it wasn't even close.

In voting that closed Wednesday night, Michigan followed up its so-called upset of No. 4 Pennsylvania with a much more lopsided win over New York. The final percentages showed the Wolverine State with 65.3 percent of the vote, compared to just 34.7 percent for New York. Michigan's previous win over Pennsylvania was 52.7 to 47.3.

Believe it or not, but when the top six states in the Great State Debate were being considered, Michigan was put on the bubble. This was, in part, due to Detroit's perceived slide as one of the nation's truly elite basketball cities. But as Michiganders have proved in the past two weeks, it is a state with basketball passion from corner to corner.

This sets up the possibility of an all-Midwest final in two weeks with Michigan going up against No. 2 Illinois. Before that happens, though, Illinois will have to get past No. 3 California in next week's other semifinal. Illinois got past Kentucky in its first-round win, while the Golden State took out New Jersey.

Best of the Great State Debate

"OVERALL basketball talent, not just the top 2-3 players by far goes to Michigan. New York has a very shallow pool after Kareem and Dr. J."
-- KleShreen

"I think you're forgetting BJ Armstrong, a key role player on Jordan's Bulls. He went to Brother Rice High School in Birmingham. The Catholic High School League in the Detroit area has actually a lot of great basketball programs and players that had their schools closed: Austin Catholic, St. Martin de Porres and Holy Redeemer in Detroit, Bishop Borgess in Redford, Aquinas in Southgate. Not to mention the ones that are still open that compete every year (St. Mary's Prep in Orchard Lake, De La Salle in Warren, Fr. Gabriel Richard in Ann Arbor).
Also, if you look at the past 10 Michigan Mr. Basketballs, you'll find nice company: Brad Redford (Frankenmuth), Manny Harris (Detroit Redford), David Kool, (South Christian, G.R.), Wilson Chandler (Benton Harbor), Drew Neitzel (Wyoming Park), Dion Harris (Detroit Redford), Paul Davis (Rochester), Kevin Torbert (Flint Northwestern), Marcus Taylor (Waverly, Lansing), Jason Richardson (Arthur Hill, Saginaw), Dane Fife (Clarkston)."
-- jhitts08

"While I love the Michigan and the hoop legends this great State has produced, its really quite obvious NY wins this debate. Granted with so many more people, they should have more all time greats."
-- zoobfish72

"how about some more love for benton harbor, MI........anthony "pig" miller had a great MSU career and made a nice career bouncing around the NBA. second, the knicks own Wilson Chandler is from Benton Harbor, and should be on the michigan list."
-- bshoemake10

"Its a tough call. In terms of college ball we should just let the Cuse and Mich St play each other to decide."
-- greatone9952

"There is no urban hoops landscape without New York City.
There is no Michael Jeffrey Jordan without James and Deloris Jordan giving birth to him in Brooklyn, NY.
NY should crush this competition.
-- NewYork2G