Sunday, February 28, 2010

Big Ten Championship: Purdue favored by 4 over Michigan State

Today's matchup of #14 Michigan State at #3 Purdue is, for all intents and purposes, the Big Ten Championship game. The Boilermakers are favored by 4 points at home... but MSU's chances for victory vastly improved after the loss of All-Big Ten performer Robbie Hummel (15.7 ppg, 6.9 rebs). Ohio State sits at 13-4 with one game remaining home vs Illinois and needs an MSU victory for a chance at the title; Purdue is 12-3 with games vs bottom feeders Penn State and Indiana. Michigan State, at 11-4, must still play bottom feeders Penn State and Michigan.

This should be a GREAT game... MSU had a week to prepare for Purdue and the expected raucous environment. The biggest problems for Michigan State remain the same as last game: E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson. But Hummel is the grit, the glue and the soul of the Boilermaker team. His loss is as big as any in college basketball this year. In the last meeting - a victory in East Lansing - Moore scored 25 points (8-14 FG, 4-8 3s) with 6 asts; Johnson had 19 points (8-15 FG) and 7 rebs... Hummel had 15 pts, 5 asts and 5 rebs. But, in that game, Purdue hit 91% of its free throws (20-22). Purdue's bench scored 9 points and will be asked to contribute far more with the loss of Hummel today (MSU's bench scored 21 in the previous meeting). If Johnson or Moore get into any foul trouble, it will be a long day for Purdue.

Losses by #7 Villanova, #8 West Virginia, #11 Georgetown, #12 Pitt, and #13 BYU give a Michigan State victory at Purdue a great chance to move back into the Top 10. Other losses at the top by #1 Kansas and #2 Kentucky will make for a volatile poll next week as we head down the home stretch into conference championships... and tourney pairings. Right now, MSU sits as a #4 seed in the South, but aiming to move up - it is mojo time.

ES sez: Michigan State will pull away with its depth in the end despite a gritty defensive effort out of Johnson and Chris Kramer (5.9 pts, 2.9 asts). MSU 67, Purdue 61.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Big Ten expansion looks dimmer

Well, the ES learned through the grapevine that a meeting held within the past week between the Big Ten office and faculty representatives included comments from commissioner Jim Delaney - of which he cooled to the possibility of expansion. While there is serious investigation by the Big Ten office (as requested by the Big Ten presidents), the number of schools that the Big Ten is looking at has gone "down from three to none (not one, but none)." This is an interesting consideration, given the Free Press comments.

Now, it is true the faculty reps aren't getting the full story -- they are only being told what they need to know. And, knowing the pressure of finances on college sports, any possibility of more money via revenues will be given serious consideration. But, will adding a 12th team for a football playoff add enough new money to offset the costs for championships in the other 20 sports? Likely not, certainly not in the long run.

So, what will happen? ES still sez either: nothing, Pitt, Mizzou, or Notre Dame. Seems like it is leaning toward nothing...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Michigan football violations: count it as fact. Keep Rodriguez!

Oh, and by the way, the allegations of major NCAA rules violations by Michigan football team?

The ES will say two things:

1. Read it (in PDF).

2. Those scUM alumni and fans who disagree just refuse to think U of M can do any wrong. Yes, sorry, the Wolvies are no longer the poster child of care-free college sports.

Yes, oh yes, this is a free country. So, believe what you want. For the ES' sake, he spoke with high sources at scUM (scUM regents) that acknowledged the coaching staff was misguided in their decisions. If you don't believe the ES, you are foolish, misguided, and not very smart... Yes, Spartan fans and Wolverine naysayers, expect this to stick.

What will happen? The NCAA may state these as serious violations, but it IS previously the public poster-child of college football, so even the ES believes the NCAA will go light on scUM. The biggest issue is the purpose of "quality control staff" and in the allegation it seems like RR hired them on with the intent to circumvent the rules. (hey, RR - you dummy - get your players to enforce, you don't need to hire additional staff).

But, the staff issue is the biggie. If RR can explain it, then the ES sez a slap on the wrist at most - just a warning. If he can't explain it satisfactorily, maybe a few scholarships, and maybe a postseason ban. MAYBE.

The ES hopes not. We Spartans need RR around as long as possible - he is the best thing to ever happen to Michigan football!

MSU #14, scUM sked Sunday at 4 pm

The season finale vs scUM has been scheduled for SUNDAY at 4 pm. Thank Goodness, 'cause now the ES can make the game. I have previous family and work conflicts. This speaks to the disappointing nature of college athletics, which by virtue of its competitive nature has found itself on its knees, begging the television gods for scheduling to maximize tv and conference revenue. Man, I remember the days basketball was one day a week and weekends. Period. It is really too bad. For the players, students, and alumni.

Latest rankings? Bracketology has MSU as a #4 seed - but that can easily change with a bump of #1 seed, and 9-game consecutive winner, Purdue this upcoming weekend... Here is the AP - the ES chuckles with K-State, WVa, Ohio St, BYU, Pitt, and New Mexico above MSU: I hope we teach you who's boss in the tourney.

1. Kansas (61) 26-1 1,621
2. Kentucky (4) 26-1 1,559
3. Purdue 23-3 1,470
4. Syracuse 25-2 1,455
5. Duke 23-4 1,323
6. Kansas State 22-4 1,302
7. Villanova 22-4 1,189
8. West Virginia 21-5 1,183
9. Ohio State 21-7 1,097
10. New Mexico 25-3 997
11. Georgetown 18-7 846
12. Pittsburgh 21-6 806
13. Brigham Young 25-3 795
14. Michigan State 21-7 794
15. Butler 25-4 673
16. Vanderbilt 20-6 599
17. Wisconsin 20-7 528
18. Gonzaga 22-5 506
19. Tennessee 20-6 480
20. Temple 22-5 452
21. Texas 21-6 445
22. Texas A&M 19-7 225
23. Richmond 22-6 202
24. Baylor 20-6 147
25. Northern Iowa 24-3 128
Others Receiving Votes
UTEP 86, Virginia Tech 76, Maryland 57, Missouri 17, Illinois 14, Xavier 13, Marquette 11, Louisville 9, Mississippi State 5, Oklahoma State 4, Utah State 4, Wake Forest 2, Murray State 2, Cornell 2, Clemson 1.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ohio State 74-67 at the Brez. Gut check time.

What a way for Michigan State to battle back, but they still come up short, 74-67 to the Buckeyes. They seem to have a tendency to go through offensive "lulls" against the good teams and have to spend lots of energy to battle back. So much for team depth I guess, when it is basically 5 Buckeyes on 9 Spartans. OSU has the better starting five, for sure.

The point is that if you leave 8 points on the board from missed FTs (10-18), miss a late dunk, and your best player is just having an off-shooting day (Lucas 3-13), then you won't win. And we didn't. Give Ohio State credit for making shots at the end - they did, we didn't. As Tom Izzo says," now it is gut check time." One week to prepare for Purdue. But, if they don't make wide open shots in West Lafayette... it won't matter how hard they prepare.

This team can fight and battle -- give them credit. But, they need to stop getting behind by so many points.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

MSU favored by 4.5 over Ohio State

Michigan State is a 4.5-point favorite in today's home stint vs. Ohio State. It's a nationally televised game on CBS, with Bill "a kiss off the glass" Raftery providing the color commentary.

Noon tipoff. For all those going to the game? Bring your lungs.

Ohio State is another one of those teams we've played well against under Izzo, who is 18-8 against the Buckeyes. Michigan State leads the all-time series with Ohio State, 63-51, including a 40-15 advantage in games played in East Lansing. Overall, the Spartans have won 23-8 of the last 31 games in the series.

Key player? Either Durrell Summers and/or Raymar Morgan. Let's see if they can break out of their funks and dominate on both ends of the court like we know they can. Final score? ES predicts MSU 68, Ohio State 64.

Funny, never thought of it - in football we have Captain Kirk and in basketball we have Captain Morgan.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Giving up tickets vs. sans cocktail pre game

ES had to give up his tickets to tomorrow's Ohio State game. Bummer, but family commitments rule the roost. And, with a noon tip, it's tough to fill the belly with a cocktail at the Roadhouse with these draconian, Anti-American, not-before-noon-on-a-Sunday in Michigan drinking laws. Still, it'll be on the boob-tub, so all is not lost.

Looking forward to Illinois-Purdon't tonight. Go FREAKING Illini!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Controlling Destiny: Go Buckeyes!

All you Spartan fans out there, join the ES in rooting for the Buckeyes over the Boilers tonight. MSU leads the Big Ten with two games in hand over Purdue, and one game over Ohio State. But, Michigan State plays its only game of the season vs Ohio State at home on Sunday, and then has a week to prepare for its stint at Purdue. Then, Sparty mops up the rest of the season at home with lowly JoePa and the Yellow Bellies.

After Purdue and MSU, the Buckeyes travel to JoePa, play scUM and Illini at home. Purdon't? after Ohio State, they have home games vs Illini, MSU and Indiana. They travel to Joe Pa and Minny. Purdon't has the toughest schedule remaining.

Make no mistake: with OSU beating Purdue puts distance between MSU and the Boilers. If we beat OSU and finish 2-1, we'd still grab a share of the title. If we lose at home to OSU, then the win at Purdue becomes a must for a share.

Control your destiny, take care of business at home FIRST. GO BUCKEYES! By the way, Ohio State is favored by 3 at home....

Lucas, Green, and Kebler lead Sparty past Indiana

Our Spartans skated by rather easily past Indiana last night, with a 72-58 win on the road. It is only the 12th time that MSU men's hoops has ever won in Bloomington, so any win down there is significant -- let alone a 14 point win. ES keeps being impressed by defense of #20 Mike Kebler, he will see more and more minutes as the season progresses. The guy is a lock-down guard. Very impressive. Also, nice to see Kalin Lucas (13 pts) back up to his old bag of tricks.

Three things that really stood out: (1) did you see Morgan (10 pts) go strong to the hoop a couple of times? Outstanding, where the hell has that been? (2) Draymond Green continues to be a beast (14 pts). And, (3) MSU force 16 Indiana TOs and only had 8 themselves. Now that is a tale of the tape.

Next up: Ohio State on Saturday. MSU remains on top of the Big Ten... and the Boilers travel to Buckeye-land tonight. Will it be Purdue or OSU that keeps pace with Sparty?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sparty favored by 10.5 at Indy

Spartans are favored by 10.5 at Indiana tonight. Tipoff is 7 pm, on ESPN. Muskyburger and Lavin are calling the game -- they've been the Spartans' hex lately, having called the MSU-Purdue disaster in East Lansing and the previous bummer at Wisconsin. In between the Spartans were sandwiched with Dickie V at Illinois. Going o-fer against Disney's top hoops crews doesn't help yer cause; time to change it around tonite.

The Ohio State game this Saturday is looming large, as their dispatching of the Illini in Champaign make them title contenders. Hopefully, MSU will get its defensive-minded mojo righted in time.

Monday, February 15, 2010

MSU to #11 in AP Poll

Well, another week, and the shifting in the Big Ten atop the college basketball world now has Michigan State trailing Purdue AND Ohio State in the latest Associated Press poll. The Buckeyes are the big climber, after dispatching Illinois in Champaign and whipping Indiana in Bloomington. MSU is down to #11, falling from the #5 position just two weeks ago after a 1-3 rough stretch....

AP Top 25
1. Kansas (62) 24-1 1,622
2. Kentucky (3) 24-1 1,557
3. Villanova 22-2 1,482
4. Purdue 21-3 1,403
5. Syracuse 24-2 1,389
6. Duke 21-4 1,278
7. Kansas State 20-4 1,239
8. West Virginia 19-5 1,101
9. Ohio State 20-6 1,068
10. Georgetown 18-6 966
11. Michigan State 20-6 906
12. New Mexico 23-3 888
13. Gonzaga 21-4 830
14. Wisconsin 19-6 697
15. Texas 20-5 674
16. Brigham Young 23-3 669
17. Vanderbilt 19-5 529
18. Butler 23-4 527
19. Pittsburgh 19-6 398
20. Tennessee 18-6 381
21. Temple 20-5 347
22. Baylor 19-5 316
23. Wake Forest 18-5 286
24. Texas A&M 18-6 231
25. Richmond 20-6 101
Others Receiving Votes
Northern Iowa 74, Virginia Tech 59, UTEP 46, Illinois 29, Marquette 12, Mississippi State 5, UNLV 5, Old Dominion 4, Cornell 2, Georgia Tech 1, Maryland 1, San Diego State 1, Xavier 1.
Dropped From Rankings
Northern Iowa 19, Georgia Tech 20, UNLV 23.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thumbs WAY UP to new, darker Spartan Green

The new Spartan green? Like it? The ES LOVES it. Never did like the lighter green that much...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Spartan defense returns with 65-54 win at Penn State

Mcihigan State played an 0-11 Big Ten team in Penn State at the right time, and came out victorious, 65-54, to end a three-game skid.

But, in all honesty, JoePa took a nice slug at MSU and actually led mid-way, 46-44, through the second half. That is when we finally saw the Big Green defense we know and love. Spurred by solid defense on Talor Battle after inserting walk-on #20 Mike Kebler, the Spartans shut down Penn State going on a 14-4 run over eight minutes, from 12:24 to 4:59 left.

Talor Battle did score 30 points for Joe Pa. But, Kalin Lucas had 24 points (6 asts, 3 stls) for MSU in response. The Spartans shot well, hitting 7-13 threes (54%) and 26-55 (47%). MSU outrebounded Penn State, 32-23. The Spartans had 18 assists total, and only had 9 turnovers -- a solid 2-1 ratio by the team.

Durrell Summers played better for MSU, 9 pts and 4 rebs. But Morgan is still struggling, with just 4 pts (2-8 shooting) and 6 rebs. Notably, Korie Lucious didn't make the trip for academic reasons. Next up: at Indiana on Tuesday night. MSU remains on top of the Big Ten...

Other notable games on the Big Ten leaderboard:

Wisconsin is currently skunking Indiana.
Iowa at Purdue, 4:30 today.
Ohio State at Illinois, 1 pm tomorrow.
Purdue at Ohio State, 6:30 Wednesday.
Wisconsin at Minnesota, 9 pm Thursday.
Illinois at Purdue, 4 pm, Feb. 20 (next Saturday).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pac-10 joins Big-10 in expansion talks

Watch out Mountain West Conference and Western Athletic Conference... here comes the Pac 10 with expansion talk.

Leading teams to consider: BYU, Utah, Colorado, Colorado State, Boise State.
Others in the running: San Diego State, Fresno State, Hawaii, and TCU.

Problems with Boise State, Fresno State, and TCU? (1) All provide no substantive increase in market share, they are in the middle of nowhere and (2) other than football, they lack significant broad-based success in their athletics programs.

Add this to the Big Ten's expansion talks and potential theft of Pittsburgh from the Big Least and Missouri from the Big 12, and watch the dominoes fall from coast to coast as other institutions jockey for position in the game of Big Time Football Conference Musical Chairs... Looks like the dominoes may fall in spring of 2011 or 2012, sports fans.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Kidnapped: Durrell Summers and Raymar Morgan

The ES is asking the Spartan Nation in fellow Big Ten cities to search their friends houses and backyards to see if they can find Michigan State Spartan basketball players Durrell Summers and Raymar Morgan. Both have been lost for the past week and a half, since MSU started 9-0 in the season. There are impersonators playing in their positions, and these "players" are performing very badly both offensively and defensively, as evidenced in the blowout loss last night at home to Purdue. Matter of fact, coach Tom Izzo may have gotten wind of this rude kidnapping trick by benching the lackluster "Summers" in the second half of the Boilermaker game. Why he similarly didn't bench the Morgan impersonator, well, the ES can't figure that out.

Please find them. Michigan State won't win many more games with these Morgan and Summers impersonators on the team. These tricksters suck.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Wear White. Beat Purdue!

WHITE. Beat Purdue!

Tipoff 9 pm. ESPN. Bring your lunchpail and snow shovel. What a great promo email put out by MSU Sports Info today. Scream your lungs out tonight, Spartan Nation! The ES will.


The worst about Purdue, courtesy Tim Solon of IU Planet (from Indiana U.):

Purdue is my sworn enemy. Not only was I raised to root for the Hoosiers, I was raised to despise the Boilermakers. I shudder at the mention of black and gold. I cringe at the names of “Drew Brees” and “Kyle Orton.” I have vomited at the mention of “Brian Cardinal” on several occasions. I laugh at the sight of Gene Keady. To put it simply, Puck Furdue. Honestly, what do they have going for them? Not much, that’s for sure. I don’t think I could ever make a complete list explaining why I hate Purdue, but it never hurts to start one. Here goes:

(1) They’re like a crappy version of Notre Dame: Of course, I’m just talking football. They are nowhere near the level of prestigious academically and their campus is nothing like that of the Fighting Irish. Every year, however, they are overrated and full of bandwagon fans. The media always picks them as a dark horse to win the Big Ten (usually because of an easy schedule), but they never come through. I would never try to say that IU is a better football school. We’re not. But we don’t pretend to have a powerhouse program; Purdue does. Alright, you guys tied for the Big Ten championship in 2000, congratulations. Northwestern also got a piece of that championship. The last time before that you had won? 1967. Guess what? IU shared the title with you that year.

(2) They may have the ugliest campus in the Big Ten: It’s not that their home field is intimidating, it’s that no one wants to go to West Lafayette. Honestly, were the creative juices so nonexistent that a square was the best idea for campus you could come up with? Plus, West Lafayette just stinks. I don’t care if that’s the result of a dog food factory or whatever you want to claim causes that smell, it’s awful. Search for “West Lafayette stinks” in Google and you will come up with 34,100 results. Apparently I’m not the only one who noticed.

(3) Your basketball team sucks: I don’t care what lame argument you bring up. You can tell me you have more Big Ten championships than anyone else (one more than IU). You can tell me that Gene Keady was a great coach. You can tell me that you lead the all-time rivalry series. But I’ve got a couple things to say. Firstly, you only lead the all-time series because of the way you manhandled us early in the series. You beat us 51 of the first 62 games. Congrats, you got the ball into what was still a peach basket more than we did. Secondly, how many national championships do you have? Oh, just one from before the NCAA tournament existed? Maybe we’ll lend you one of our five banners if you want to see what it feels like.

(4) Your cheers are lame: Really, “Boiler-Up” is dumb. And annoying. Check out the definition at “Taking a fat, hot steamy dump”. I mean, if you really have to do that 1643 times in a game, you’ve got problems.

To end this little list, I will use the words of a fellow Boiler-Hater, a blogger from Notre Dame. I had to do a little censoring, but I’m sure you can figure out what would actually take the place of the little asterisks:

“F*ck Purdue. And their cartoony mascot, Purdue Pete. And that cardboard choo-choo they roll around the stadium. F*ck the baton twirlers. Even the gold one. And the black one. And the silver twins. They can take that tiny little "World's Largest Drum" and shove it up their pansy asses. If I wanted a carnival atmosphere, I'd go to Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus, not a college football game. Wake up, Purdue the rest of the world is laughing at you.”

Strong words, but the truth can be very harsh. Please IU, show them who the real men are this afternoon. Send them back home to their stinky, square fortresses with their unattractive females and let them wallow in self-pity. Beat those Boilermakers!

Monday, February 08, 2010

#10 MSU a 3 point favorite hosting #6 Purdue in snowstorm

Michigan State and Purdue meet in the biggest Big Ten game of the year tomorrow night. MSU is an early 3 point favorite by Bookmaker. Here in East Lansing, we are expecting the biggest snowstorm of the year, beginning 8 am. We should have 5 inches of snow by tipoff, and a foot by Wednesday morning...

The two teams have leapfrogged over each other in the men's hoops polls so far this year, and this week was no different. The Spartans dropped road games at Wisconsin and at Illinois, and drop to #10. Purdue won a tight game at Indiana, and rose to #6.

Wisky is #11 and Ohio State is #13 in this week's Big Ten top-heavy AP Poll.

1. Kansas (55) 22-1 1,613
2. Syracuse (8) 23-1 1,553
3. Kentucky (2) 22-1 1,514
4. Villanova 20-2 1,366
5. West Virginia 19-3 1,361
6. Purdue 19-3 1,301
7. Georgetown 17-5 1,211
8. Duke 19-4 1,142
9. Kansas State 19-4 1,139
10. Michigan State 19-5 968
11. Wisconsin 18-5 871
12. Tennessee 18-4 850
13. Ohio State 18-6 845
14. Texas 19-4 789
15. New Mexico 21-3 725
16. Gonzaga 19-4 693
17. Brigham Young 22-3 532
18. Butler 20-4 422
19. Northern Iowa 21-2 298
20. Georgia Tech 17-6 269
21. Temple 19-5 223
22. Vanderbilt 17-5 222
23. UNLV 19-4 209
24. Baylor 17-5 202
25. Pittsburgh 17-6 149
Others Receiving Votes
Texas A&M 115, Cornell 114, Wake Forest 109, Maryland 69, Charlotte 48, UTEP 33, Mississippi 30, Rhode Island 30, Saint Mary's 18, Siena 18, Illinois 16, Florida State 15, Virginia Tech 11, Marquette 10, UAB 7, Wichita State 5, Richmond 5, Missouri 3, South Florida 2.

White-Out planned for Tuesday vs Purdue. Morgan and Summers need more and better offense

WEAR WHITE on Tuesday Nite!

The Michigan State athletics department is asking fans to wear white to the MSU-Purdue men's basketball game on Feb. 9 as a gesture of uniform support for the Spartans. The Spartans and Boilermakers will tip off at 9 p.m. White t-shirts are available at GMC Kiosk on the Breslin Center concourse outside Section 110. Fans can receive a free t-shirt in exchange for filling out a short GMC survey.

What is the problem in the past two games? USA Today hits the nail on the head: giving up perimeter shooting. "Perimeter defense is once again a concern for the Spartans, who have good numbers (opponents were shooting just 40 percent entering Saturday's game), but who are giving up more dribble penetration lately. Wisconsin shot 50.9 percent, Illinois shot 52.5 percent, and both team's guards got into the lane frequently. In the next week, the Spartans have to deal with penetrators such as Purdue's E'Twaun Moore and Penn State's Talor Battle. Kalin Lucas' quickness would be helpful if he can play." You can bet this will be a key in practice tonight and tomorrow.

Two players who need to step up for Michigan State: Durrell Summers and Raymar Morgan. Morgan scored 8 pts in each of the last two games, but just 1 foul in both combined... that demonstrates lack of physical play. Summers scored 11 pts in each game. Morgan shot 4-10 (40%) for both games; Summers shot 9-21/42% FGs and 2-8/25% 3pts. But, both are capable of greater shooting efficiency and better offensive output -- and we need their best play particularly when our best player (Lucas) is ailing.

Against Illinois, Morgan was 8 pts (3-6/2-2 FT), 3 rebs, 3 asts, 3 TOs, and 1 foul. Against Wisconsin, Morgan was 8 pts (1-4/6-9 FT), 10 rebs, 0 asts, 2 TOs, and 0 fouls.

Against Illinois, Summers was 11 pts (5-13/1-5 3pt), 3 rebs, 2 asts . Against Wisconsin, Summers was almost identical: 11 pts (4-8/1-3 3pt), 3 rebs, 2 asts.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Spartans miss Lucas in 78-73 loss at Illinois

Well, you could definitely see the difference that Kalin Lucas makes to the team in last night's 78-73 loss at Illinois. With Lucas, Michigan State would have cut down on the senseless turnovers and had the clutch shot at the end.

Give Illinois credit, they hit lots of big shots. Draymond Green (17 pts, 16 rebs) had the best game of his career... but Summers and particularly Raymar Morgan need to show up for MSU to win. But, there was MSU hanging in to the end.

Next up: the biggest game of the season, welcoming 7-3 Purdue into town on Tuesday, 9 pm. The Spartans lead is now down to one game.... time to get Lucas back onto the court and win baby!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Live chat: MSU at Illinois

MSU at Illinois. Tipoff in minutes. ESPN Game Day with Dickie V and Jay Bilas is in Champaign. Lucas is OUT tonight, in street clothes.

Danger Will Robinson: the Spartans are coming!

The Big Green gets Big Test #2 on the road tonight, a 9 pm tipoff at Illinois. Game will be broadcast on ESPN. The Spartans are favored by 1.5, and are coming off their best practice sessions of the year: arguably inspired by the loss of their leader, All-American Kalin Lucas.

Ken Pomeroy has MSU pegged at #22 with Illinois at #55. Meanwhile, Jeff Sagarin lists MSU at #14 and Illinois at #71. Here's the ESPN notebook on keys to tonight's game: Raymar Morgan, Korie Lucious, and Draymond Green.

MSU has won the last five meetings, including the last two at Assembly Hall, each by eight points: 74-66 and 59-51. None of the last 13 games have been decided by less than 6 points. Yes, if you look outside at Assembly Hall it is probably the uglist arena in the Big Ten: it looks like the Jupiter 2, the Robinson's spaceship from Lost in Space.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Sparty of old wins! Redesign for MSU to focus on concept, not logos

Michigan State has decided not to redesign its Sparty logo. As said by the ES last night, there was an impending decision by the Spartan brass reflecting the concern by the Spartan nation over the leak of the image redesign.

In the end, the Spartan athletic program backtracked, took the advice of the ES ("why not use what you already have?" and "there is still time to rethink the decision") and others, and decided to use the current Sparty logo (not a redesign of the logo) in its rebranding efforts.

Hollis stated: "After careful consideration, we will use the current Spartan logo design, first used in the late 1970s, to build our visual brand identity. Using sound branding principles..."


A complete copy of the announcement is below and available here.

Good decision, great job Spartan athletics. Now, let us be 100% behind this redesign using the current logos! Go GREEN!

Here is the email sent out by Hollis yesterday evening:


"We Gather and Engage Our Community to Teach, Support, and Celebrate our Student-Athletes in Their Quest for Excellence!

That’s the mission I had in mind since day one. But it can’t be done alone.

Our vision of a “consistent and national identity” was designed to bring everyone together. By that, I mean everyone -- from our administration to our student-athletes to you as a Spartan.

When I accepted this position, I stated that as your Athletic Director everything would be done with ONE FOCUS. Having been on this campus for more than 30 years as a student, alumnus, and employee, I have often observed that, as Spartans, we have not always been headed in the same direction. Nowhere has this fact more obvious than in the outward appearance of our team uniforms. We have been an athletic program of different greens, logos, word-marks, and uniform quality. There has been a lack of consistency with regard to our brand. This inconsistency was a result both of using multiple suppliers for our apparel and of uniform decisions being made without a department-wide focus.

After assuming the Athletic Director position, one of my initial objectives was to outfit each of our sports teams in a consistent manner and to do so as a component of a unique and cohesive national brand identity program. To accomplish this task, we expanded our partnership with Nike so that every one of our 25 teams and nearly 800 student-athletes will all wear Nike-designed uniforms and apparel. We feel fortunate to have Nike as a partner, not only to improve the way our teams look, but also for the unique performance advantages their products provide.

As part of the expanded partnership, we requested Nike conduct a department-wide assessment of our brand and identity. It’s important to note that this request came as part of our agreement with Nike, but was not a condition of it. There was no cost to MSU for this service. Members of my staff, university administration, and I guided Nike designers through this in-depth process that is still in the final stages of completion.

In this process, Nike has suggested various innovative concepts and design elements, yet it is always Michigan State University that determines the direction we will take. Input from student-athletes, coaches, alumni, donors, students, faculty, and university public relations advisors have been involved in this process.

The recent disclosure of an updated Spartan logo from a trademark registration process has resulted in a flurry of concern and discontentment among some of our students, alumni, and fans. I have given careful attention to thoughtful comments received and sought additional counsel regarding how ideas might be incorporated into the overall strategic brand and identity process. Our primary objective is to achieve a strong and consistent Spartan brand, but rest assured that, as our mission statement attests, bringing Spartans together is one of our fundamental values.

Our identity and branding process is nearing completion and is on schedule for a complete rollout in April. The elements and applications of the brand design will be unveiled collectively at that time. After careful consideration, we will use the current Spartan logo design, first used in the late 1970s, to build our visual brand identity. Using sound branding principles, the university will continue to register some variations of our Spartan logo in order to ensure that this symbol is well protected and firmly associated with Michigan State University. As an athletic department, we are excited about our branding and identity process. We understand, given the tremendous exposure we bring to the university, that our work is an important part of Michigan State’s overall university brand. As we go forward, we will ensure that elements of the athletics visual brand identity align with and support the university brand.

As an athletics department and as a university, we are dedicated to maintaining an appreciation for our past while also being committed to moving our university and athletic program boldly into the future. As Spartans, I believe we can all pull together and embrace the mission of standing together with one focus—a focus broad enough to encompass both the vital importance of community and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

Thank you for your support, and Go Green – Go White!

Mark J. Hollis
Director of Athletics"


If there is anything this process shows, it is that Michigan State's loyal following is enthusiastic, and is dedicated to its tradition.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Lucas "very questionable"

Joe Rexrode had a great column today, with insight on the Spartans heading into Illinois. Lucas is "very very questionable" but it is NOT a high ankle sprain and he is improving. Raymar Morgan had his best practice "ever" and the Spartans are flying around. Delvon Roe bumped his knee at the end of the Wisky game, but he is a GO. Time to whoop some Illini booty!

Word has it that there will be an announcement by MSU athletics tomorrow on the new design scheme for MSU, including the Sparty logo we've all seen. Stay tuned. Notably, the ES has had a poll up (at right) since the initial leak of the image, and of 253 votes, 12% positive; 22% says it is ok, and 62% negative opinions.

Lucas update? No update. Recruiting is "good"

No status update on Kalin Lucas, other than x-rays confirmed it was a sprain without any break. He is questionable for Saturday's game at Illinois (15-8/7-3), 9 pm EST.

Recruiting Class -

The pundits are saying MSU has one of its better football recruiting classes in recent years. Not great, but good, and the third good class in a row from MD.

But, the ES misses the days when you didn' t know who was new to your team until they suited up in the fall. And, having press conferences to announce which college to attend? Give me a break, what a waste of time. Sigh. So, who are our future Spartan gridders? No shockers on letter of intent day. Here they are. Now, let's get them enrolled, eligible, and keep them out of trouble.

Max Bullough, linebacker. 6-3, 228
Le'Veon Bell, running back. 6-2, 221
Joe Boisture, quarterback. 6-5, 195
Taylor Calero, defensive end. 6-3, 230
Darqueze Dennard, defensive back. 5-11, 170
Michael Dennis, offensive lineman. 6-7, 270
Kurtis Drummond, defensive back. 6-2, 198
William Gholston, linebacker. 6-7, 237
Mylan Hicks, defensive back. 5-11, 182
Nick Hill, running back. 5-7, 185
Travis Jackson, offensive lineman. 6-4, 265
Jeremy Langford, running back. 6-0, 185
Isaiah Lewis, defensive back. 5-11, 190
Tony Lippett, receiver. 6-3, 185
Keith Mumphrey, receiver. 6-1, 195
Niko Palazeti, fullback. 6-2, 245
Marcus Rush, defensive end. 6-3, 225
Mike Sadler, kicker. 6-1, 185
Skyler Schofner, offensive lineman. 6-6, 276
Anthony Rashad White, defensive tackle. 6-2, 310
Justin Wilson, linebacker. 6-0, 215

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Lucas high ankle sprain in loss to Wisconsin

Game what game? Burn the tapes from last night's blowout loss to Wisconsin, 67-49. Michigan State came out flat, and played flat defensively for most of the game. Right when MSU started playing well and making a bit of a run back into the game, Lucas hurt his ankle.

Oh well, we weren't going to win them all anyways. If you would have told the ES we would be 9-1 after 10 games, I'd take it. Maybe the team can learn to WAKE UP and play hard on defense a full 40 minutes; and, to guard that 3-point line for their lives. Give credit to Wisconsin for being well prepared, inspired, and hitting all the open shots.

As for Lucas - it is, unfortunately, a high ankle sprain. Who knows how long he will be out. But, MSU better find a way to win with Illinois and Purdue on the docket.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Hoops Live chat: Michigan State at Wisconsin

Rack it up. Go GREEN!

Beware the Grateful Red: Wisky -2.5 favorite

Everyone is giving the Big Green its best shot: and #5 Michigan State keeps on winning with a school record 9-0 sprint to start the conference season. But, to be honest, until tonight's stint at #16 Wisconsin, Michigan State has yet to travel faced the four other contenders for the Big Ten crown: Wisky, Purdue, Illinois, and Ohio State. Wisky has this game circled on their calendar; it is their biggest game of the year. Tipoff 9 pm EST on ESPN.

Dating back to 2001, the Badgers have an 11-5 series lead over Michigan State. All of MSU's wins were at the Breslin Center or in the Big Ten tourney. Matter of fact, the last time MSU beat Wisconsin in Madison was a 51-47 victory under then-Wisconsin coach Brad Soderberg on February 27, 2001. Under Bo Ryan, Wisconsin has never lost to Michigan State at home. It's time for a change, no?

But, yes, this is the start to the roughest stretch of the season for MSU. This is where the Big Ten grow men.

Feb 2 at #16 Wisconsin (6-3)
Feb 6 at Illinois (6-3)
Feb 9 vs #8 Purdue (5-3)
Feb 13 at Penn St (0-8)
Feb 16 at Indiana (3-5)
Feb 21 vs #13 Ohio St (5-3)
Feb 27/28 at #8 Purdue (5-3)

Tonight, its Wisky. We beat 'em in East Lansing, 54-47, back on January 5. Now, their leading scorer, Jon Leur (21 pts, 7 rebs in previous meeting) is out. Instead, Wisky has turned their offense to 6-8 junior forward Keaton Nankivil, who has averaged 17. 3 points and seven rebounds over the past three games.

Prediction? MSU gets the Badgers off their backs, winning for the first time in Madison in 10 years. Michigan State 58, Wisconsin 56. Player of the game? Raymar Morgan rebounds from a 0-pt, 5-reb game vs Northwestern to post a double-double inspiring effort, including shutting down Nankivil to under 10 pts.