Just Like 2005?

Back in 2005, people were calling for an upset, too. Just a few years ago, a 5-seeded Michigan State entered tournament play with a bulls-eye on their chests as commentators saw a potential 12-seed upset, just like some have done this year with the Temple Owls. Will the Spartans use such prognostication as inspirations and repeat a run deep into the big dance?

Tom Izzo and the Spartans are going into the big dance as a five-seed -- and we all know what happened the last time they were in the fifth spot.

In the 2004-05 season, the Green and White traveled all the way to the Final Four, defeating the likes of Duke and Kentucky along the way, before losing to eventual-champion North Carolina.

But the comparisons don't stop at the seeding.

Going into the ‘05 tournament, the Spartans were picked by many pundits to be victims of the perennial 5-12 upset and lose to Old Dominion. This season, many, including CBS's Seth Davis, are picking the Temple Owls, of the Atlantic-10 conference, to knock off Izzo's team in the opening round.

The similarities between the 04/05 and 07/08 teams range from the obvious to the minute.

"(We were) picked by some to lose that game," Izzo said of the Old Dominion matchup. "That's the way it is with the 5-12, that just comes with the territory."

During the last run to the Final Four several Spartan seniors, including Kelvin Torbert, were being ridiculed for underachieving during their senior. This year the same pressure has been put on senior point guard Drew Neitzel. During the season the Spartans have gone the way of the pre-season Big 10 player of the year and his streaky play is obvious when looking at the team's record.

Neitzel will have to step up the way Torbert (10.0 ppg) did in order for the Spartans to achieve a deep run in the tournament.

The sleeper here is the team sitting seeded at four in the South bracket; the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Pitt has won five straight games over the likes of Louisville, Marquette, and, most recently, Georgetown. Those wins took them from bubble team to Big East Tournament Champions, very similar to the way the 04/05 Syracuse Orangemen streaked into the postseason. ‘Cuse also won the Big East Tournament that year, defeating 17 ranked Connecticut and number 12 West Virginia. Syracuse made their way to a 4-seed but was upset by Taylor Coppenrath, T.J. Sorrentine and the Catamounts of Vermont.

If all goes well, the Spartans will enjoy the same success that the 04/05 Spartan team did.


Temple, despite being a relative unknown to most of the Spartans, has had a very solid season.

The Owls are led by junior guard Dionte Christmas (20.2 ppg) and senior guard Mark Tyndale (15.9 ppg) who, together, combined for nearly half of the team's scoring average.

Not only are Christmas and Tyndale ferocious scorers, who possess a knack for hitting three-pointers (38.0% and 37.3% respectively) they also rebound very well.

At 6-foot-5 each, the two guards combine for 13.2 rebounds per contest, a mark the Spartans will have to minimize if they want to advance to the round of 32.

Temple played a tough out of conference schedule, with games at Tennessee, Villanova, at Florida and against Duke. In Atlantic 10 conference play, the Owls defeated Dayton, Massachusetts, St. Joseph's, and, most notably, the Xavier Musketeers by 19 points. That is the same Xavier team that earned a 3-seed in this year's big dance.

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