Michigan State loss means everything, and nothing, to top seed UVA

virginia basketballDing, dong, Michigan State is dead, meaning everybody but the UVA homers can count their brackets busted.

So that’s the good news: no mo’ Sparty.

There’s really no bad news here if you’re a Cavs fan. Again, no mo’ Sparty.

But ultimately, while this means everything for Wahoo Nation, it also means nothing.

Bottom line: gotta beat Butler Saturday night, and even then Michigan State being done means nothing.

Get to Chicago, and it helps that Purdue won’t be there, since the Boilermakers were also upset in the first round, so the Sweet 16 won’t be a B1G rave with UVA crashing the party from down south.

But you still have a talented Iowa State or Arkansas-Little Rock in your way.

Get past that one, and you get to a regional final without, yes, Michigan State. Still gotta beat whoever you get there.

That’s when today’s loss means something to the Cavs, and not so much that Virginia couldn’t possibly get past Michigan State, because, come on, MSU never led today against Middle Tennessee State.

MTSU dictated its will in that game from the opening minutes, starting 6-for-6 from the field and answering every big Spartans shot with one on the other end.

UVA could have imposed its will on Michigan State, it’s now clear. The B1G was just a bit overrated, and I say that knowing that the Selection Committee underseeded Michigan State, Indiana and Purdue, most notably, and still two of those three are already done.

But the ‘Hoos won’t get their chance at redemption against Sparty. They just have to win three games, and really, no, that’s not true.

They have to win the next game. That’s it.

The two seed in the Midwest is done. The five seed is done. Seven seed Dayton is done. But key obstacles still remain, and right now, the only obstacle is a solid Butler team.

A Butler upset renders today’s Michigan State loss utterly meaningless for Virginia fans.

If we weren’t aware of this already, anybody in this tournament can beat anybody else.

That said, I wrote before the opening tip on Thursday that I liked the Midwest bracket from Virginia’s perspective, and that was assuming that Michigan State would get past what I assumed would be a tough gauntlet on its half.

Gotta win out to make it count.

Column by Chris Graham


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