In 2005 when we were covering Michigan State in the St. Louis Final Four, Illinois was in the field. And thousands of Illini fans trekked the short drive to St. Louis to be a part of it all with motor homes for tailgaiting, etc., even though many did not have tickets inside. I bet the same happens this Saturday. MSU fans galore will be all over downtown Detroit looking for tickets, hanging out at the bars, etc., if they don't find any. The Final Four wouldn't be as frantic if MSU was not in the field but the Spartans' appearance will truly make this a memorable event. And if they beat Connecticut on Saturday to move on to Monday's final? Look out!
It's hard to predict anything from here on out. Who knows how these teams will play, especially now that they'll all be rested up. I can see State beating U Conn, or frankly losing by 20. North Carolina I think will outlast Villanova. I figure Carolina will win Monday but it's no lock against either U Conn or the Spartans. Michigan State likely would be much more competitive in a rematch next Monday than the 98-63 blowout at Ford Field last December 3rd in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
I think State needs much more play out of forwards Delvon Roe and Raymar Morgan. Connecticut seems much tougher and more mature than Louisville and U Conn won't be caught off guard by the MSU fan frenzy. MSU has had off nights from numerous players this season and still found a way to win, but can that trend continue? I understand why State is a 4 point underdog to the Huskies, but that's when State is at its best-- when few figure they can win.