- For Part 2 of the MSU vs UConn match up I will break down the starting forwards for each team. It is part 2 of the 5 part series this week.
- When looking at this new match up, an obvious size advantage is shown with the 6'9'' Stanley Robinson and the 6'7'' Jeff Adrien leading the way. Adrien averages a double-double this season with 13.7 PPG and 10 RPG and Robinson adds size and solid production from a dominating front court that compliments Thabeet well. Raymar Morgan is more of a headache for me. He was showing the promise he was expected of since his freshman year before he got sick with a combination of Pneumonia, Flu, Mono, and whatever else. Now he hasn't played all too well and now has to deal with a broken nose as well. With his absence MSU was able to play some of there younger guards and get a glimpse of what the future holds for Spartan Nation. Playing solid minutes Freshmans Delvin Roe, Draymond Green and Senior Marquise Gray have shown potential and skill to be a starter on an elite team. Gray has seemed to be here forever, and Green has played fairly well coming off the bench. Delvin Roe is the future by far. Turning down UNC to play at MSU, we can see why the Tar Heels pursued him so much. He is probably the Spartans best inside presence outside of Suton and is an absolute beast playing well beyond his years. UConn can hardly say they have the depth MSU does. But do they have better talent for there starters? I have an upset brewing and saying MSU has the better forwards. I like the potential and versatility that Roe-Morgan brings. I have seen what they can do any given game and believe Izzo will have them battling and prepared. I love the duo UConn can bring, but my nod goes to the Green and White.
- John Calipari left Memphis today to take the coaching job at Kentucky and the 8 year 35 million dollar deal to be the highest paid coach in NCAA basketball. With this, he could pluck a few top 5 prospects to join him. This could decimate the soon to be dynasty that Memphis could have been (that is if they ever won a National Title).
- All 5 NHL Western Central division teams are in the playoffs as of today. They may not all make it, but I am confident at least 4 will get in, as the Blues may just miss the playoffs after a late season charge. This looks like a trend that will continue as the perennial contenders Red Wings are joined by four young talented teams hungry to contend. The consistent Predators somehow put it together under Trotz to play on. The Blue Jackets should make the playoffs for the first time in their history with Calder (my selection) Winner Steve Mason, Captain Rick Nash and Jack Adams contender Ken Hitchcock. Chicago is finally able to put it together with a young dynamic offense and St. Louis may be ready to contend next year as their youngsters are playing well. Looks like an exciting end from the former NHL Comedy Central.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
- This is Part 1 of my 5 part series breaking down the MSU vs UConn Final Four match up. First up the guards, then forwards, then centers, then benches, then coaches leading up to the game on Saturday.
- Guard play is very important to any team advancing this far in the tournament. Big man win championships, guards get you there. It has been well publicized my beliefs in the ability of Kalin Lucas to run the offense and score at will at some points. Travis Walton is a vital veteran presence who handles the ball well and distributes. He plays exceptional defense but does not score too much. He did drop 18 against USC and has played like a senior who wants a ring. They balance each other out very well and jump start the Spartans offense. Now we have the Huskies exceptional guards Jerome Dyson and A.J. Price. Price is good. Best player on the team good. Make game plans to stop him good. He and Dyson have experience (Dyson is a Junior, Price a Senior) and size on there side as they are 6'2'' (Price) and 6'4'' (Dyson). Walton measures up at 6'2'' but Lucas is only 6'0''. Not monumental but still notable. Price and Dyson slash and play the whole court well and score all over the court. Price shoots well from behind the arc at a 40.3% average. This poses problems in match ups on defense for the Spartans. Stopping the duo will be very important if the Spartans are to advance. Dyson also averages 1.8 steals per game to make the Spartans handle the ball carefully. I hate to see MSU be sloppy with the ball, and try to feel better about it because they play in a conference.
- Verdict: I give the slight edge to UConn. MSU does not have the overall talent yet of Dyson-Price. although Walton is a better defender than both. Lucas could be a factor is he can hit three pointers with people in his face like he did against Louisville. I can't see MSU outplaying UConns guards in this match up. Lucas could be to a level of an elite guard in a year or two, but must play exceptionally well on Saturday to win this match up.
- The Detroit Lions begin their defense of the 2008 Pre-Season Championship in August. When Jim "The Saviour" Schwartz step on the field for the game, we can only hope he took it as seriously as Rod did. Week 1 vs. Atlanta Falcons, Week 2 : at Cleveland Browns,Week 3 : vs. Indianapolis Colts,Week 4 : at Buffalo Bills
- Freshman scoring leader Seth Curry will transfer to Duke. He attended Liberty last season.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
- MSU played an amazing game against the Louisville Cardinals this afternoon. Honestly in the second half, the Spartans just wanted it more. They shot from behind the arc like madmen and fed Suton down low for seemingly easy buckets. In my opinion, that and his long range shooting makes him a candidate for the NBA. He can't really dribble or move with the ball, but he moves well without the ball and passes well, is 6'10'' and 245. He would be a work in progress and may need a few years in Europe but could do well for some team in the association.
- Kalin Lucas played as well as anybody. He shot clutch threes and helped pull the game away. He found his open teammates and made smart plays all night. He displayed the talent you want from a prime time player.
- To win against UConn, MSU will have to play a lot like they did to beat Louisville. Suton and Ibok will have to combine to shut down Thabeet and try to limit him. Most likely Suton won't be able to dominate down low scoring and rebounding like he did to day, but I would like to see Thabeet cover him when he spots up for three. That may be the match up of the game. Kalin and Walton will have to limit turnovers and have smart possessions and find the open man. We will have to use a rotation Morgan, Roe, Summers and Allen to keep us fresh and keep the energy going through the game. Shooting well from behind the arc for the whole team could erase leads and keep the game close, or extend a lead and let MSU dictate with some old fashion Big Ten basketball. Free throws are important as we could go to the stripe a lot. MSU fouled Louisville a lot and we can't get into foul trouble and fall behind and play into UConn's game plan. Calhoun will have his team ready despite any allegations that may pester them throughout the week. Izzo will have to have his boys play in the moment and play to the level we know they can reach.
- The Red Wings lost again to the Nashville Predators at the Joe today. They gave up 3 third period goals and Osgood imploded again. Although the refs stole a goal from us (yes stole it was past the line well before the net was knocked loose). Next week the Red Wings will be humiliated on national TV as we play the Wild on NBC.
- The Pistons...........they won. Hooray! We got some players back and we won. How bout that? Next up Larry Brown and the Bobcats, who are in the ninth spot behind us.
- I've basically conceded that the Detroit Lions will draft Stafford if we can't trade for Cutler. The Cutler deal wouldn't happen until later, probably near the draft. I would like Jason Smith but I don't really seeing that happen. A lot of speculation though. We will just have to see.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
- Sorry no new blogs in a while, a combination of the flu, school, and Resident Evil 5 and of course, sports held me back. Hopefully this won't occur again.
- MSU has played very well lately. A solid win over USC and defending champ Kansas has the Spartans with a Elite 8 showdown with the Louisville Cardinals. With Morgan playing despite a broken nose Lucas needs to step up and show the talent he did against KU. Mark it down, I am going on the record saying Kalin Lucas will be a serious contender for the Naismith award next year.
- For MSU to win, they need to have everybody running on all cylinders. Suton doesn't have to stop a super talented big man like Aldridge and worry about foul trouble early. Allen needs to be the X factor he is and be lights out from behind the arc. Lucas needs to be the quarterback and score as well and we need our role players to do well as Pitino's bunch will be ready to play. I expect a great game and the Spartans have enough talent, coaching and drive to win. GO GREEN!
- The MSU Lady Spartans lost in an absolute heart breaker against 4 seed Iowa State tonight. The Spartans let up 8 straight points to end the game, 5 coming off of terrible turnovers. The lack of a true point guard hurts MSU again. Dehaan and crew played well but weren't enough to go on to the Elite 8 after knocking off top seeded Duke.
- The Lions accidentally leaked their new logo (or was it the NFL?) and I have to say I love it. Bubbles looks for meaner and rougher. The uniforms look not too much different (from the other leaked linked pictures I have seen) but I guess that's OK considering too much might result in ugly jerseys.
- The Red Wings for the most part have played awful a lot this year. We out scored a lot of teams and that's about it. Osgood puts out a good game every five games or so and Conklin is still consistently the best, although hasn't played to the elite level we all expect from the Wings year in and year out. We need to clean this up fast our a first round exit is completely likely. Anybody have Hasek's number?
- Pitt went down tonight in an amazing contest versus Villanova. After almost throwing the ball out of bounds, Pitt recovered and Levance Fields had ice in his veins making two free throws to (seemingly) send the game to Overtime. Nova then drew up an amazing inbounds play and made a shot with .5 seconds left to go to the Final Four. It is a worthy contender for best game of the tourney so far.
- Findlay won the D-II Basketball championship over Cal-Poly Ponoma in OT with a long range buzzer beating three. What an awesome game from both teams giving it there all.
- The Pistons are struggling to make the last playoff spot. When does free agency start again?
Saturday, March 14, 2009
The Lions have traded perennial underachiever/substantially overpaid DT Corey Redding and a fifth round pick to Seattle for LB Julian Peterson.
Personally I am very happy with this move. Peterson, a ten year vet who went to Michigan State gets to be a centerpiece of a almost assuredly improving defense (can't get any worse). We get rid of Redding who never lived up to the expectations of his huge contract, especially after Rogers was traded last year.
Personally I have loved almost everything Mayhew has done since he took over for Millen. This trade was awesome, getting a great player. I'm sure Detroit saves some cap room too. He pulled off the Roy Williams trade, getting three extra picks for a guy who wasn't going to sign with us anyway. He found some decent talent during the season (including Standeford, a WR I am pretty high on as a third option.) He signed Johnson, Jackson and Buchanon to cheap contracts, assembled an awesome coaching staff. Now is where he will really earn his money, the NFL draft. He has exceeded my expectations now, but by the end of April we will all see if hes the real deal.
- Syracuse has been on an amazing roll lately winning two straight games in OT, one going to 6 OT. If they could take care of Louisville they would be Big East champs. The Big East is so stacked that anybody who wins it deserves plenty of respect. I love Rick Pitino, but who doesn't want to see the upset?
- Western Michigan lost in hockey 5-2 last night at Yost in Ann Arbor. Gill faced 47 shots, so he couldn't even steal the game for the Broncos. Freshman's Kyle O'Kane and J.J. Crews scored the goals. We are such a young team and its nice to see our Freshman score. Tonight WMU plays UofM again at 7 on FSNDetroit. LETS GO BRONCOS!!
- Bill Davidson passed away last night. He was 86. He was the owner of the Pistons and Shock, leading the Pistons to 3 NBA titles since taking over in 1974. His usual appearances at Pistons games were sorely missed as he only made 2 because of his health. RIP Mr Davidson.
- Lebron makes his case for MVP by dropping 51 to clinch the division last night against the Kings in OT. If you love OT basketball then this weekend is for you (yes Thursday night is the weekend, I go to college and all). I don't know if I would vote for Lebron or Kobe right now, and my roommate thinks Dwayne Wade deserves a nod. It will be a three horse race here pretty soon and the discussion comes to the forefront.
- More personal note on sports, I am very sad to see there won't be any Kalamazoo Xplosion games this year. I went to my first Indoor football game last year and saw them battle Chicago all night. It was a lot of fun and the tickets were cheap and they treated us great. Too bad the economy isn't very good right now. At least the Kalamazoo Kings baseball team will still be around, I love going to those games as I can't get enough baseball.
- UNC and Duke avoided upsets just barely. A couple of controversial calls ruined BC and Va Techs hopes. Today MSU plays Ohio State to try to advance to the finals with a win. A Big Ten Tourney title means a number 1 seed for the Spartans, as the other game is Illinois and Purdue. These are probably the best 4 teams in the Big Ten squaring off. GO SPARTANS!!
- In the WBC my picks for today's game is Venezuela over the Netherlands, and USA over Puerto Rico, both should be both games though and I have trouble picking against both teams. Two more games take place Sunday as pool play continues till Tuesday.
- Red Wings have the surging Blues tonight after a disappointing loss to Calgary this week. St Louis is still trying to make a playoff run as everybody in the West in the hunt right now.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
- One of the many sad moments of being a Detroit Lions fan as I am is the draft is one of the most anticipated times of the year for my beloved franchise. I look over the draft board and realize how we screwed up by going 0-16 in a year with no clear number 1. I will announce formally to my loyal readers my choice for number 1 selection is Aaron Curry linebacker, Wake Forest. Matt Stafford would not be a bad choice, but so many other good quarterbacks on the board next year, we should see what happens with Culpepper, or sign another retired quarterback halfway through another miserable year. Let us all pray to Jim "The Saviour" Schwartz.
- Do not remove fighting from hockey. Period. That would be one of the worst moves in sports in a long time. Ask a random person walking down the street and ask them if they would like hockey more if fighting was removed. If they say yes they are most likely a U of M grad or someone who is saying it to look humane in today's world. The alternative of any star getting pummeled and beaten up is too scary.
- Michigan sucks slightly less at basketball. Manny Harris, who is a rare example of a U of M athlete who is a Kinesiology major (oh wait) leads the way for Corn and Blue. I heard a sports announcer (most likely Brent Musberger) said he is a candidate for Big Ten player of the year. That was a bigger joke then giving Rosie O'Donnell another show (yeah she had one a few weeks ago or something, if you didn't know its ok). Michigan should make the tournament and lose in the first round, hopefully getting T'd up for calling one more extra time out.
- The World Baseball Classic finishes its first round tonight with Mexico vs Cuba. The second round starts Saturday. I have personally loved this tournament, with classic upsets and upstart teams knocking off top talent. I hope to see this continue into the next round and make predictions in the next post.
- Wings vs Calgary tonight at 7. Lets hope to get some goaltending and stop Olli and Leopold and the new look Flames.
- Tomorrow Michigan State takes on Minnesota in the Big Ten Tourney. Should be a win for an underrated team in an underrated conference. Western has already been eliminated in the MAC tourney to end a disappointing season.
- Western take on U of M in hockey in the second round of CCHA playoffs this weekend starting Friday night.