Next time you see Rob Parker in the ESPN hallways can you talk some sense into him? How the guy still views Izzo as only a "solid coach" is beyond me and I'm not even an MSU fan.
OK, watching the snow fall in Detroit, getting excited about tonight's game. Opening day in baseball, too, so it's a great day in sports. Here we go...
James in Charlotte: I think Izzo is one of the 10 best coaches in the last 50 years. What he's done is remarkable. It's easier at places like Duke and UNC and UCLA and Kansas, which have storied traditions. The Spartans were really, really good in 1979, but Izzo has built a lot of their tradition.
do you think carolina is the best team in the league?
I think UNC is the best team in the country. I think the have the most inside-outside balance and have three guys that can kill you on the perimeter.
Mark, while UNC has destroyed everyone in their path in the tourney, I believe MSU will actually give them a game (not because of location). Do you agree?
I think MSU is playing with a lot of confidence and momentum. They have a very, very deep bench. They played defense really, really well. Not sure how they're going to score to keep up with UNC, but they keep finding ways to get it done.
Does MSU have an answer for the balanced attack of UNC?
I think Morgan would have to play really, really well. Suton would have to knock down some shots, and Summers will have to shoot better.
Mark, do the games have a different feel being played in a huge place like Ford Field instead of a traditional arena? Should they go back to smaller places better suited for basketball?
I don't like the elevated court here, but I do like the arena. It's huge, but doesn't have that 'dome' feeling like some other places. Smaller arenas are better, in my opinion, but you have to sell tickets.
Who do you think can step up for msu and make a difference?
Again, Morgan will have to play well again for them to have a chance. I think Walton can slow down Ellington, so Lucas will really have to stay in front of Lawson. Morgan might have a chance to make some shots against Danny Green. Suton has to play better than he did against U-Conn. Another big contribution from Lucious would help, too.
What was the atmosphere in Ford Field like when Durrell Summers dunked on Stanley Robinson?
I know Pat Forde was sitting next to me and we both went, "ooooh!" The microphones are really close to the rim and are louder than they usually are, so you could really hear him slam the rim. Pretty incredible play, and Robinson even got most of his hand on the ball.
I keep hearing that in the first meeting this season MSU was lacking Suton, but he averages 9.9 ppg and gave up 33 to Hansbrough in 2007. How much of a difference is really going to make?
He's not going to make up for 35 points, that's for sure. But I think MSU had tired legs after playing three games in four days and then getting only two days' rest before playing UNC. I think tired legs had more to do with it than not having Suton, who has been a good player for them lately.
Can MSU where down the tar heel starters by going 11 deep on the bench?
UNC is deeper than U-Conn, although not quite as deep as MSU. They'll get quality minutes from Zeller and Ed Davis in the front court. Not as much in the backcourt, although Bobby Frasor played pretty well against Nova.
Why is the media not giving Roy Williams his due? All we have heard is how great Izzo is, but Williams has been to 5 final fours in 8 years?
Roy has gotten his due over the years.
They are 18 - 22 years old. How tired can their legs really get? Poor excuse!
UNC was better that day, no question about it. But that was a brutal stretch for MSU, too. Four games in six days, playing the No. 1 team in the country at the end. That's pretty difficult.
As an ACC diehard, it's tough for me to admit that the Big East was the best conference this year. Now that they won't win a championship, will anyone remember how well the conference did this year?
Probably not, but I thought the Big East was the best conference this year. If Michigan State wins, does that mean the Big Ten was the best league? No. Wake was a disappointment at the end. Duke wasn't that talented. FSU flamed out. Maryland was pretty average. Big East was deep.
So it looks like Xavier coach Sean Miller has accepted the Arizona job. Is this a good fit?
I think he's an excellent coach. Surprised he's leaving Xavier. Arizona is going to be a tough rebuilding job, but it's a great place to coach and live. He'll get it back on track.
I'm assuming MSU fans took the majority of tickets from UCONN and Villanova. How many Spartan fans do you expect to be in the building and what impact will it have on the game?
I'd say it will be 80-percent green and white. UNC travels well, but the Tar Heels will definitely be outnumbered by a wide, wide margin tonight.
If UNC by some fluke has another poor foul shooting night, does that make enough difference for them to lose this game?
They can't miss 15 foul shots again. They shoot free throws pretty well. Not sure if it was the open area behind the goals that bothered them or what. But they'll need to make their foul shots tonight. I think it's a close game.
Who is a likely candidate for the Xavier job?
Not sure. It's late in the coaching carousel. Not a lot of young, hot names out there. It's a good job, though.
Even though they have been killing teams, I still do not think we have seen UNC's best game yet. If they play close to that, it won't matter what MSU does. Agree?
I don't think they've played their best game, either. Michigan State doesn't make it easy, though. But if UNC plays well, it will be tough for the Spartans to beat them.
Why is it so tough for the traditionally top programs to land head coaches? (Dogherty at UNC, Billy G at UK, Sampson at IU, and now with Arizona being turned down by just about everyone)
Smaller schools -- or ones with less tradition -- are paying a lot of money now. Some guys don't want the pressure of coaching at UK or places like that because they make good money at schools with less pressure.
Where does Gillespie fit into the coaching carousel? Will he be coaching next season?
I think Billy sits out a year before coming back. Haven't heard his name for any jobs available.
How do you think Michigan state will deal with Ty Lawson and the inside game of carolina?
I think they put Travis Walton on Wayne Ellington, and try to defend Lawson with Lucas. Not sure Walton is fast enough to stay with Lawson. Suton and Roe try to handle Hansbrough inside.
In your article about Wolverine fans rooting for MSU, you must not have asked the right people, because I don't know a single UM student rooting for MSU. Why? if you reverse it, MSU would be rooting for the Tar Heels over the Wolverines.
I was surprised when I went over to Ann Arbor yesterday. 80 percent of the people I talked to said they were rooting for Michigan State.
Did state do anything well in the first matchup that they can feel good about, or perhaps play off of?
I think their motivation is they were tired in the first game and didn't have Suton. They couldn't have played any worse in the first game.
Nobody seems to have made any mention of the most interesting (possibly insane, possibly benevolent) coaching move of the tournament: Jim Boeheim telling Jonny Flynn that he should test his draft status, despite Flynn wanting to return. This is a coach who has his players' best interests in mind, even if they don't coincide with his.
I'd definitely try to keep him. Flynn is probably good enough to go to the NBA now, but I think he could use another season.
Who's the best NCAA champion of the decade?
The Florida team that won back-to-back championships was the best "team" I've seen in a long, long time.
What's the tempo for tonights game? I think MSU needs to selectively run because they can get easy baskets in transition against UNC, but they need to be careful not to get into a completely up and down game.
Michigan State can run and likes to run, but UNC is very good in transition. Nova actually did a good job of getting back on defense. UNC has only two fast-break points in the first half. If I'm Izzo, I try to slow it down.
Any update on the Memphis coaching search?
Nothing concrete. Heard names over the weekend, but the coaches said they weren't involved.
Is it safe to say that if Carolina wins Lawson is MOP, and if State wins, Lucas is MOP?
Or Hansbrough or Morgan.
After seeing three of the four one seeds fall out of the tournament, should North Carolina still be considered the favorite in tonights game?
I'd say they're the favorite because of the first meeting in December, but MSU is playing very well right now and will be playing what is essentially a home game.
Ok, folks, have to run. Enjoy tonight's game. Should be a good one. Thanks for stopping by today. Take care.