SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
From All Reports – Izzo fails to be inducted into Hall of Fame
Sep 9th, 2016 by Jeffrey Lubeck

From everything I can see, Tom Izzo was not inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.  Darn… I thought he was elected last spring and was to receive his jacket yesterday and inducted today.  I swear I saw something about it in between reading about Jim Harbaugh and Michigan’s crowning as National Champion in Football for the 2016/2017 season.

I checked the sports websites yesterday and today (such as ESPN). And I also checked and just rechecked the web version of newspapers that would logically write about the subject – such as freep.com.  It appears to be that only Alan Iverson, Yao Ming and SHAQ were selected and inducted.  I cannot find a reference to Tom.  I see stories on the Free Press website Sports Section mentioning verbal commitments from High School Kids to MSU and UofM, and analysis of Michigan’s upcoming game with Central Florida taking the lead story.

Maybe I am confusing Tom Izzo with one of the 491,493 DC and/or Marvel Comic Super Hero’s appearing in a summer 2016 movie?  Did anyone see Kenau Reeves as CoachMan? The Computer Generated Images (CGI) of CoachMans’ 1-3-1 defense were super-cool!

Should I call Tom to confirm he is still coaching and actually has coached the past few years?

NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament Round of 64 Day One – 16 Game Thread
Mar 17th, 2016 by Jeffrey Lubeck

The Madness Starts Now!

Two Posts in One Day… TUS on Fire… Can MSU Match?: Spartans and Acorns Game Thread
Feb 23rd, 2016 by Jeffrey Lubeck

All Points Bulletin… Andary on loose in East Lansing.  Repeat Andary on loose in East Lansing.  This is not a drill!

MSU Men’s Basketball 2015/2016 – Mid-term evaluation
Jan 10th, 2016 by Jeffrey Lubeck

This week the Spartans of Michigan State University Men’s Basketball team passed the midway point of their 30 game regular season schedule.  Yes MSU at 16-1 is now on the back-side of their 30 regular season schedule

Here are the team numbers vs. opponents

Statistic MSU Opponent Differential
Points 80.3 61.1 19.2
FG % 49.1 35.9 13.2
3 FG% 39.6 26.4 13.2
FT% 72.2 78.6 -6.1
RB 43.5 29.9 13.6
PF 19.35 19.35 0
Assist 21.1 10.2 10.9
TO 12.6 9.8 -2.8
BLK 5.6 3.7 1.8
STL 4.5 5.7 -1.8

What are the three things about MSU that jump out so far this season?

Sweet Valentine A Month Early? – MSU @ Penn State Gamethread
Jan 10th, 2016 by Jeffrey Lubeck

valentines-chocolate

Denzel Valentine appears ready to return to the Spartan lineup after missing four games to recovery from minor surgery to his knee.  Will the Spartans benefit from Valentine’s gift a month early for the day that his name is sometimes associated?

Here is the skinny on the game.  Click on the image for more information from the MSU SID.

MSU @ PSU MBBall 01 10 2016

How Many Fouls Are in Your Wallet? – What Did We Learn MSU @ Oakland
Dec 22nd, 2015 by Jeffrey Lubeck

62 Fouls!  31 per team.

What did you learn from the MSU @ Oakland game?

This Is Not Your Father’s or Even Grandfather’s Arena: MSU Athletics @ Northeastern in Mathews Arena – Games Thread
Dec 19th, 2015 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Boston Arena Boston Arena 6 Boston Arena 5 Boston Arena 3 Boston Arena 2

Mathews Arena on the Campus of Northeastern University in Boston Massachusetts will host three sporting events this weekend between the Michigan State Spartans and the Northeastern University Huskies; Woman’s Basketball, Men’s Basketball and Men’s Hockey.

With seating for 6,000, Mathews Arena is a band box when compared to the newer facilities.  However Mathews has a lot of history.  It originally opened as the Boston Arena in April 1910 and is the oldest multi-purpose arena in-use in world today.

For major professional sports the Boston Arena was home to the Boston Bruins, New England Whalers and Boston Celtics.  For college sports Boston Arena was home for Boston College, Boston University, Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, Tufts and Wentworth.  Boston Area was also home for Championship Boxing (e.g., Dempsey, Louis), Ice Shows (e.g., Sonja Henie), Rodeo’s (e.g., Dale Evans & Roy Rogers) and concerts (e.g., Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, The Doors, Northfork Rancher & BostonSpartan85 on their Greener than Green Tour).

The Frozen Four was held in the Boston Arena in 1960.

Northeastern University bought the building and land in 1979 and renamed it Mathews Arena (after George Mathews a major donor).  A number of major renovations to the arena have been made with the last being all new seating and scoreboard in 1992.

I was afforded the opportunity to peruse Mathews Arena a few years ago, while on a run from the Copley Hotel passing Fenway, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Northeastern University and back.  My take of Mathews – old school foundation with new school accouterments.

The Numbers

 

NE Huskies 7-3 MSU 11 - 0

Battle of the Boards: Louisville @ MSU Gamethread
Dec 2nd, 2015 by Jeffrey Lubeck

ESPN’s Dan Dakich and Mike Tirico on the call for tonight’s game. ESPN Officials selected them for tonight’s game knowing that USMC(retired) would be in the viewing audience.

The ACC/B1G Challenge in Men’s Basketball moves to its second day with the conferences tied at 3 games a piece.  The #24 Louisville Cardinal (5-0) are in East Lansing to face the #3 Spartans of Michigan State (7:15PM ET ESPN).  If numbers are any indicator this game will be a battle of the boards as Louisville is #1 at +21.4 and MSU is #3 at +18.3 in rebound differential.

Coaching legends Tom Izzo and Rick Pitino face off against each other for the fourth time – first ever during the regular season.  Izzo hold the edge at 2-1 with the latest victory coming last year in the Elite Eight.  How is it that a national power like Louisville is undefeated and not ranked until this week? #1. The Cardinal return only one starter from last year; Quinten Snyder.  Top reserve Mangok Mathaing is the only other returning player with heavy minutes against MSU. #2. An uncharacteristically soft schedule with most games played on the home court and I mean really soft.

Louisville has other terrific numbers including #2 in scoring defense (51.2) and #3 in defensive shooting percentage (32.4).  But then… while Pinto teams always seem to execute his excellent offensive and defensive scheme to great effect – there is that soft schedule to consider.  Louisville replenished its starting lineup with transfers – Damien Lee (Drexel) and Trey Lewis (Penn State via Cleveland State).  Lee and Lewis are #1 & #2 in scoring.

As TUS Membership is well aware, MSU has taken a completely different tact.  Road trips and big time match ups marked November. The lineup is been bolstered by the play of freshman (McQuiad, Davis and Goins) to complement a remarkable blend of Sophomore, Junior and Senior talent.

This game pits known and proven coaches and game plans against each other, with MSU’s personnel a bit more proven against a rather unknown product.  It will be interesting to see how this game plays out.

Thoughts?

Finishing Strong? Providence vs. MSU Gamethread
Nov 29th, 2015 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Thanks, giving, and Thanksgiving are words that have been put to good use for fans of Michigan State University athletic teams this week.

As the week comes to an end the Spartan Men’s Basketball team (6-0) will attempt to put an exclamation point on it all as they face the Providence Friars (6-0) in the Championship Final of the Wooden Legacy Classic (WLC) in the Honda Center in Anaheim California at 10PM ET on ESPN2.

The original script had MSU facing the #10 Wildcats of Arizona in this game, but as MSU fans know well; games need to be played, played to completion, the underdog should not be counted out. So after a re-write to the script it is the Friars against the Spartans.

For the third year in a row, the Friars of the Big East Conference stand at 6-0 to begin the season; which includes victories over Illinois, Harvard and, on Friday night – #10 Arizona.  Providence is 6-12 in its last 18 games against ranked opponents.  The Friars and Spartans have not faced each other since MSU took down Providence in the Puerto Rico Shootout in 1999 on its way to the 2000 National Championship.

 

Many college basketball fans, coaches and writers could easily conclude that Denzel Valentine has (to-date) performed at a level which would make him the hands-down choice for Player of the Year (POY).  Guard Kris Dunn of the Friars may have a lot to add to the discussion about determine who is the best player in this game let alone the season.

Providence Friars 2015 (6-0)

Providence Friars 2015 (6-0)

As the numbers above suggest, Providence has a big powerful starting lineup that is good from the Free Throw Line.  However, the Friars are limited in terms of bench depth, versatility in style and beyond the three-point line.

 

MSU 2015 (6-0)

MSU 2015 (6-0)

As for the Spartans…they may not win this game. However even without (F) Gavin Schilling, Tom Izzo has 14 players upon which to draw from and insert into the lineup that has played and contributed to their 6-0 start.

 

The State of State
Nov 18th, 2015 by Jeffrey Lubeck

ex·cep·tion·al
ˌikˈsepSH(ə)n(ə)l/
adjective
  1. unusual; not typical.
    “players with exceptional commitment to their teammates and coach.”
    synonyms: unusual, uncommon, abnormal, atypical, extraordinary, out of the ordinary,rare, unprecedented, unexpected, surprising; More

It is edging towards the end of November and the focus for fans of Michigan State Athletics is football – with good reason.  The Men’s Basketball team grabbed the spotlight to start the week – and rightly so – with its 13 point come from behind victory over the Kansas Jayhawks in the Champions Classic in Chicago.

The Spartans football game on Saturday has material implications on what team is ultimately going to play for the B1G and National Championship titles. Yeah I know we love to complain, and in many cases thrive on the premise that MSU [sic., in general] is disrespected.  But this modus operandi is simply out of touch with reality. With Mark Dantonio at the helm, the Spartans are regulars in the media and the College Football Playoff Committee’s conversation when it comes to discussing the teams who can and are positioned to take the big prize.

Yes, MSU is a two-touchdown underdog against The Ohio State University.  I think that number is about right for the betting community.  Personally, I can see MSU taking the Buckeyes in Columbus – as well lose by 17 points.  However, all of this situational discussion is merely time-killing fun to occupy ourselves between games. The fact of the matter is MSU is ranked #9 in the CFP standings, playing for titles, and in no need of help from anyone else to play for and win them.  This situation is not new. It has been the case for MSU football for a number of consecutive years.  How many programs can make that statement.  The answer?  Few.

I am tired of the constant mentioning of the Elite moniker and how people seem to glom on to achieving such designation.  MSU football (win or lose on Saturday) is an Exceptional Football Program (EFP) under Mark Dantonio’s stewardship. And if anyone asks how to define and measure exceptional performance?  Simply point them to a review of MSU football and how it operates and performs and use it as the standard bearer.  Is MSU perfect? Hardly – because it is operated by humans who are subject to errors in judgement, and execution.  Is MSU Football Elite?  Who cares.  Is MSU Football Exceptional? I think so and that designation has meaning and long-term value to me.

And while we are discussing exceptionalism – how about MSU Men’s Basketball!  It is just silly stupid the level at which Tom Izzo and the men in Green & White are performing. Is MSU Basketball Elite?  Who cares.  Is MSU Basketball Exceptional? I think so and that designation has meaning and long-term value to me.  MSU’s ranking of #13 going into the season and underdog status going into its game against the Jayhawks seemed plausible on paper and in abstract thinking circles.  However, the play on the court (so far in 2015) is demonstrating yet again that MSU Tom Izzo teams are almost always better than what appears.

Exceptionalism with MSU sports is not limited to the football and basketball programs.  Women’s golf headed by Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll has had a run of success almost equal to that of basketball.  It should be noted the #28 Spartans travel of most of any MSU sports program.  And if you step back and consider MSU performance in the last 10-15 years; playing for, and sometimes winning B1G and National Championships is part of the equation for many of our programs.

I do not enjoy the One-And-Done aspect that has developed in college sports and life in general. It is the reality of the day for many, and is desired by the subscribers of Short Attention Span Theatre and its commercial sponsors.  In the eyes of this group, the performers (aka athletes) are merely chattel to be quickly discarded, exchanged for this years model, and forgotten. This condition is not my gig.

Now let me be clear on my position.  I think adults of legal age should get the choice to attempt achieving any level of work they desire at any point in time – as long as they observe and honor their existing commitment and contracts,  They should also be accountable for the implications of that choice.  As it relates to sports, I think players should have the option of trying to go professional once they are of legal age.  Go for it and good luck.  Remember however, your choice may eliminate playing the sport in college and possibly the entire college experience.  History says choosing the former over the latter is a bad choice for the vast, vast majority of athletes – prohibitively bad.  I also think colleges should be able to offer full-scholarships (and I mean all, all, expenses full) that has a four-year term or one agreeable to all parties.  Remember, college is expensive so a full scholarship (under my approach) is the equivalent of $40-60K annual income – guaranteed.

College (and therefore its sports teams) was about investing four-years (in my case five) towards your betterment.  If you find the mate for which you spend the rest of your life with (which I did) then its a Double-Double.  If your children decide to attend (of their own volition) its a Triple-Double.  If you meet a whole bunch of goof-balls that share the same feelings and interests about said college it is the McQuaid Quadruple.

One of the greatest joys in life is to see someone grow and excel before your very eyes.  Many of TUS Membership were lovingly told by Tom Izzo they were not worth sh%t given their height challenged status (except Maureen),  This assessment was delivered just a few hours after we talked with a freshman named Denzel Valentine.  Denzel has now stepped in for Travis Trice who stepped in for Draymond Green, who stepped in for…  The list of MSU players who grew as people and players because they stayed for the long haul is rather remarkable. In terms of transformation and becoming the on court leader Travis Walton remains my favorite.  It is what makes MSU exceptional.  The 21st Century Kentucky and (now) Duke cannot not make the same claim in any way shape or form.  Both of these programs have figured out and leveraged the One-And-Done methodology – good for them!  It gives the Talking Heads guaranteed new programming content for their short attention span.  However, how many of these type players become part of the fabric and heritage of a college?  Not many, if any – if we are being honest.  Why? It is hard to build when the length of stay is virtually equal to that of the time it takes to get fast-food from the Drive Thru lane.

According to the Champions Classic – MSU, Duke, Kentucky and Kansas are college basketball elite.  Nice, but who cares?  I don’t.  MSU is Exceptional – for which I do care.

SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa
© Copyright, The Usual Suspects - All rights reserved.