And the MSU Spartans play North Carolina tonight in Detroit for the NCAA title. Michigan Radio's Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry has the game on his mind.
I may have a political opinion or two, but I am decidedly balanced when it comes to Michigan universities. I went to Michigan State as an undergrad. As a graduate student, I went to the U of M, and these days, I teach at Wayne State University.
I also am fairly neutral when it comes to sports. As in, all sports bore me to tears, with one exception. I was a major league baseball fan before greed and the end of any loyalty or team continuity ruined it for me. I also once liked hockey, and might become a fan again if the Red Wings move back to Olympia Stadium in Detroit.
But I am very fond of Michigan, and am very happy that not only is the world series of college basketball being played in Detroit, but that MSU is one of the two teams in the NCAA final game, which will be played in Ford Field in downtown Detroit tonight.
Incidentally, you might be wondering why a basketball championship game is being played in a football stadium.
That's a good question, and I'll tell you if I ever figure it out. What is even more baffling, however, is the idea that this event can somehow lift us out of our economic morass.
Bloomberg News did a story on this in which I was quoted as saying something anti-social like "it would be better if somebody opened a factory that employed a thousand people."
Joe Koenig, a Spartan alum, was one of a number of people who wasn't having any of my sensible blather. "I think it's going to shine an extremely positive light on Detroit," he said. You won't find him tailgating in the snow tonight, however.
Joe was laid off from his job at Ford. Not Ford Field, but the auto company, and has gone off to Chicago. Someone who had more reason to be optimistic was a spokesman for the official bar for State fans. "It's like a tidal wave in the desert," she said.
Another bar manager added, "it's going to make people forget what's going on for about three days," meaning the economy.
Now, don't get be wrong. I am very happy the final four were held in Detroit, and though I am also a Wolverine and a Warrior, I want Michigan State to win an upset victory.
Thanks to this event and the fact that MSU hung in there to the end, a few bucks are flowing in that otherwise wouldn't have, and that's great. Yet we can't expect any sports event to turn us around. The World Series didn't do it. The All-Star game and the Superbowl didn't do it, though all those things made us feel good.
But there is always the chance that if we strut our stuff responsibly before a national audience tonight, somebody watching will think this isn't such a bad place to do business, and come here.
And if that happens, there is a basketball term for what that would mean to Michigan. It would be a real home run.