Mo loves Spartans

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:27 AM ET

Raptors swingman Morris Peterson indirectly has put a lot of pressure on the Michigan State Spartans, who will play the North Carolina Tar Heels in an NCAA tournament semi-final game tonight. Peterson was a member of the Spartans when they won the NCAA title in 2000, and he understands how that legacy has loomed over the Michigan State players who have come along subsequently.

"When I came out of school, those guys had big expectations, big shoes to fill, and I'm glad to see them do well," Peterson said. "The success we had actually puts pressure on them. So I'm glad for them, especially the seniors."

Peterson said he was going to try to make the game in St. Louis tonight (the Raptors are scheduled to practise this morning). And if the Spartans make the final on Monday, Peterson wants to be there again (the Raptors don't play on Monday).

As opposed to his championship memories fading, Peterson said they get stronger with each passing year. Of course, Peterson doesn't have any Raptors championships fighting for space in the ol' noggin, but that's another matter.

"Every year at this time I think about it," Peterson said. "Because as you get older, you know what I'm saying, you wish those times could come back."

Does Peterson have any advice for the Spartans?

"Have fun and win a championship," Peterson said.

Hey, no pressure there.

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Chemistry has become an issue with the Raptors over the past few days, with Jalen Rose and Rafer Alston expressing powerful views. But coach Sam Mitchell insists that on a day-to-day basis, his players are far from being at each other's throats.

"I'm telling you, it's news to me because if you listen to them on the plane, and on the bus, and at practice, these guys get along well," Mitchell said. "But any time you're not winning at the clip you hoped to, it's tough. Hey, I want to win every game, too, but sometimes you have to look at the overall big picture."


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