East Lansing — It was interesting watching Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio take over the microphone and take over an arena Tuesday night.
He is the football coach who dominated on a basketball night. He addressed the crowd during halftime of Michigan State’s 72-68 overtime victory over Ohio State. He honored his team, showed off the Rose Bowl championship trophy and then helped pump up the crowd for the second half of basketball.’
You can make a case he is the Spartans most important man in the athletic department. Football matters now and is no longer a laughing matter like it was under John L. Smith and Bobby Williams. The Spartans are for real and they are not going away. There were three top five teams in the arena that night. Ohio State was ranked No. 3 in basketball and the Spartans No. 3 in football and No. 5 in hoops.
MSU is only one of a handful of teams able to accomplish that. Over the years we’ve seen Florida and Ohio State do it. Perhaps schools like USC, Oregon and Texas are capable of pulling it off. But this is a unique double-double.
MSU coach Tom Izzo and Dantonio work well together. They pump up crowds and each other’s programs to boot. They are so important it is difficult to say who is the most important man in the room when they get together. Izzo has staying power and a national title. Dantonio is up and coming and has a coveted Rose Bowl championship.
Football trumps basketball, but Izzo has done so much that it will take more to pass him.
The bottom line is it doesn’t get any better than this for the Spartans. It doesn’t really matter who the most important man is in the room just as long as both keep pumping up Spartan nation.