Saturday, February 23, 2013

B1G cans Legends-Leaders for East-West, Mark Emmert on the coals

So after watching the Big Ten network the other day and listening to the comments from Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, it seems reasonable to expect that Ohio State and Michigan will be in the same division when the Big Ten reforms its lineups upon the arrival of Maryland (lovely football attendance example at right) and Rutgers. I really do believe that there will be an East and West division, and the Spartans will likely end up in the West division. Here is what it would look like:

East: Maryland, Rutgers, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Purdue, Indiana
West: Michigan State, Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota

ES made a brief shout out to the Huge Show the other day in response to his question of whether Michigan State should be in the same division as Michigan. Let's get real, as Spartan fans we really don't care because this will be a protected rivalry and the Spartans still will always play Michigan in the same year... always giving us a chance to kick their tail.

Stealing from the ACC to grow B1Gger

Talking is growing lowder about adding more schools to the Big Ten conference. Schools that are mentioned the most as potential additions include Virginia, North Carolina, and Syracuse. Yes, these are all Atlantic Coast conference ACC schools and while the ACC does have a media contract worth $13 million dollars per school, it does not rival the Big Tennetwork and the Big Ten's media contracts which at last estimate was worth $19.3 million per year per institution and with a renegotiation from the addition of Maryland and Rutgers, it is expected to be worth as much as $27 million per year beginning in 2014. Reaching South from the New York and DC markets to cherry pick Virginia and North Carolina two the Big Ten makes sense from an expansion standpoint with the alignment of two additional high-profile academic institutions, competitive football and basketball programs, competitive nonrevenue sports such as soccer, lacrosse, golf, tennis, and track and field. Adding these two schools also will further enhancing the value of the Big Ten Network. Charlottesville Virginia is a DC Richmond constituency, while North Carolina has the Raleigh, Durham, Winston-Salem research triangle, as well as potentially the Charlotte area. Adding an additional 10-15 million viewers to the network would further raise the value of the Big Ten network to maybe 32 or $35 million annually.

Emmert is walking wounded

The days are drawing shorter for Mark Emmert at the NCAA. The academic scandals and recruiting nightmares that have occurred under the watch of NCAA president Emmert seemed to continue at a torrid pace. Recent commentary by Jay Bilas and on ESPN Take Down or other ESPN-ites seemed to begin dispel doom for Emmert's presidency. Ohio State, Auburn, Penn State, Oregon, Miami, and who knows what other scandals lurk in the shadows and are waiting to be unveiled. While Emmert seems intent on using his academic pedigree as former presidents at the University of Washington and provost at LSU, he seems to be completely out of tune with his own staff.

The state of Pennsylvania's suit against the NCAA does seem to have merits as Penn State was not given an opportunity for due process. At Miami, the fact that Emmert fired his vice president for enforcement because of “improper investigation techniques”seems to fly in the face from what his own staff and other former investigators seem to believe are consistent with previous investigations. Either Emmert doesn't know what's going on, or he has extremely bad public relations and should learn to keep his mouth shut instead of grandstanding his academic virtues.

Indeed, when one considers these scandals and how the NCAA's own academic performance measurements are watered down in favor of eligibility, one has to wonder why he is even grandstanding. Furthermore, on the horizon lies that Eddie O'Bannon's lawsuit, which most experts agree has the potential to be a complete game changer for the future of college sports as we know it. If the NCAA loses the suit, potentially hundreds of millions or billions of dollars may have to be paid to former college athletes because the NCAA licensed their image for video games commercials and other purposes without asking the athletes specifically. Considering that the NCAA only makes $750 million a year, the institution could go bankrupt. If the NCAA wins the lawsuit, the argument has already been presented and the NCAA will need to respond to public and education demands of what the real role of major college football and basketball is for our nation's colleges.

In all honesty, the ES just don't see Emmert as being the right guy to answer that question nor lead an organization in response to the lawsuit and likely respond to public indictment regardless of who ends up on the victorious side of the suit.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

MSU falls to Indiana, 72-68

Well, that sucked.  Lesson learned:  you GOTTA make your free throws, especially in the last 3 minutes.    That Oladipo dude is amazing.  Appling just didn't have his best game, shooting 1-of-8 from the field, 0-4 threes, and 4-7 FTs (including the front end of a one-and-one late). 

Congrats to Indiana - they made their shots when it mattered, the Spartans didn't. 

Something tells me we may see these teams play one more time, in the B1G tournament title game.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Halftime: Indy by 6

ES headed up to the Spartan HOF Cafe (which is jam-packed) and is ready for the second half.  Some thoughts on Indy's six-point lead:
  • Indy scouted out Nix's reverse turn on his post drive, and have two steals off it.
  • Appling's shooting is off; which is the fist-half norm for him this year.  He's not in foul trouble, but his shot is off... a word to Indy: watch out
  • Dawson:  lots of energy, all over the place, but not where it needs to be.  He needs to be a bit more focused.
  • Zeller is being contained, but so is Nix.
  • Gary Harris needs to find some space to shoot more.  Maybe a few more screens.
  • Oladipo is a tough matchup and really is amazing to watch.  But, watch Payne, too!
  • Time for the second half!!!! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

#4 Spartans favored by 1 over #1 Indiana

What a barn-burner.  Michigan State, now standing at #4 in the nation after its whipping of Michigan and Penn State last week, is favored by a mere point over the stand-up, top-ranked #1 Indiana Hoosiers.  This winner of this game may very well set the table for the regular-season, Big Ten Championship. 

Tipoff is 7 pm tomorrow from the Breslin.   Should be a freaking GREAT game.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

White Out: Michigan State vs Indiana

Go BIG GREEN!  7 pm, Tuesday, at the Brez. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Michigan State WHIPS Michigan by 30+

Welcome to the game. You think you got it -- then BRING IT.  Michigan State DESTROYED, devastated, and absolutely WHIPPED what Michigan thought they had in a men's basketball team.  It was so funny to watch, it was embarrassing, as Brenden Dawson jacked down jams, Keith Appling, Gary Harris drained treys, as Derrick Nix God Bless His Soul leaned in and hooked jumpers, and as the rest of the Spartans played 60-minute clamp-down defense to suffocate and belittle the game of Michigan.

If it wasn't so pathetic, it was hilarious.  Thanks to the good Lord above that this was broadcast on national television just for everyone to understand HOW FAR BEHIND THE SPARTANS that the little yellow men of Venus are. The ES was with Big Bob at the Peanut Barrel, and while rooting on Keith Appling and Gary Harris as they extended their defense beyond the 3-point perimeter for the WHOLE GAME was spectacular.  Loved the support from Payne and Dawson, defending the interior.

The ES just can't gush enough about Nix.  How many reclamation projects will Izzo endure?  Eric Snow, Kelvin Torbert, Tim Bokrakos, Drew Naymick, Goran Suton... now, Derrick Nix??

Unbelievable tonight.  What an ASS-BEATING.

A smack-down to reality.  Can we play scUM tomorrow?  Where, when?  Pretty please???

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Michigan State hosts scUM. Stats on Eddie Hightower; pundits give edge to Spartans.

ES won't be dropping $95 for a nosebleed seat to watch this evening's matchup of #8 Spartans and Brenden Dawson beating up on the #5 Little Yellow Men from Venus... rather, I'm a gonna try and make it to either the Peanut Barrel or to the Spartan Hall of Fame Cafe to cover the game with some suds, and maybe Big Bob can make it?  Luckily it is a 9 pm game, which usually spells bed time for my youngest rugrat - so there's potential for a fun ride watching Michigan-Michigan State on the hardwood tonight.

Looks like the little yellow men are 1-1/2 point favorites, which is a complete joke.  The game tips off on ESPN, with Michigan-backer and Ann Arbor resident Mike Tirico unfortunately calling the play-by-play. 


I can't find out who the refs are for tonight's important matchup, dammit. Hopefully, Eddie Hightower isn't on the court: other than being BRUTAL and half-blind, according to StatSheet, in 2012-2013, Hightower he has been reffing games in which the ROAD TEAM has been the receipient of 2.3 more foul calls than the home team; but, this year shows an all-time low for him as a ref with number of fouls in a game, down to 35.8 per game (down from his all-time high of calling 43.4 per game in 2000-2001).  I guess there is some solace that he isn't as brutal as he was in the past (like putting perfume on a turd).

However, the Hightower standard deviation of home vs visiting team fouls is also amazing, which means the difference in each game from the average for the season.  A deviation of 4.5 for home teams is the second-highest of his career, and deviation of 3.3 for visiting teams is the lowest of his career... which means, if Eddie Hightower is reffing, he is more likely to vary wildly in his total calls against Michigan State than he is against Michigan.   [ES note: I can't believe someone has the time to calculate these stats, but thanks!]

It looks like BTN's Dienhart is giving the Spartans the edge, as is SportsTracker/Freep. See ya at the pub!  GO BIG GREEN MACHINE!  Wipe the floor with Burke and his Boyz.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

After slapping Purdon't... Bring on the Wannabees

Michigan State whipped Purdue today, 78-65... on the road. Yes, WHIPPED.  There was a point early in the game, when Spartan Brenden Dawson cut in and took a pass from Valentine and faked in and out and layed it up on the offside so fast and seamless and gorgeous, that it reminded one of Jason Richardson and put a stamp on his most dominating performance of the season.  Dawson had 20 pts. 

And, Dawson's best game was timely.  The dude is a freak of nature, and if he can control his speed and energy, he can be the best player in the nation. He is that good, and showed his potential tonight.  Derrick Nix was hitting with his lefty jump hook all game long, and grabbing interior boards fairly scrappily. ES is proud of Nix for really working hard to improve his game, but at the same time study and work toward graduation.

For the game, the interior of MSU dominated Purdue. Nix had 17 pts, Payne had 12 PTS... and with Dawson's 20 that's 49 interior of MSU's 78 total points.

This was one of the most dominating defense efforts of the year from MSU on the interior, really making any shot within 15 feet a battle just to get the shot off.  It was AMAZING watching the Spartan defense really make things difficult the entire game for Purdue on the inside. 

Appling (17 pts) played very well all game long and hit his shots as usual, but Gary Harris (8 pts) really really is coming on on both sides of the floor.  The two played FANTASTIC on defense to make up for their lack of offense in the game.

Russell Byrd saw a ton of time, more than any time all year.  In his 14 minutes, he missed three shots but played defensively the best he had all year long.  Actually, Alex Gauna and Matt Costello also played significant minutes and played very well.  This team is growing, learning, but has the right chemistry now to start making a very good, long, solid run in the conference and in the NCAA tournament. Why?  I can feel it, like many other Izzo teams before, this team is really jelling, getting its mojo. 

All around, an extremely solid road effort for the Spartans, STANDING ATOP OF THE BIG TEN.  The Big Green welcomes the little yellow on Tuesday. Bring it !!!!!! 

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Eddie Hightower reffing MSU at Purdue

Oh Shit. We're doomed. Ed Hightower is reffing tonight's Michigan State at Purdue game.

God, I hate that dude.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Live Chat for MSU hosting Minny: 7 pm ET

ES will pull up a live chat for tonight's game vs Minnesota.  tipoff, 7 pm ET (That's 1 am in Switzerland), on BTN....  Tune in and chat with the ES, who is fighting a flu bug...

Monday, February 04, 2013

Spartan hoops and rankings

First off - ES is really fired up watching the MSU ladies in pink (Breast Cancer Awareness) beating the crap out of Michigan (by 14 points as of 10:00 remaining in the game); As for MSU men's cagers - both the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll demonstrate the lack of awareness of both the media and coaches with respect to the Spartans' competition this year.

In the AP Poll, MSU is ranked #12, behind a team they beat (Ohio State #10, and two teams to which they lost, #1 Indiana, #8 Miami). How MSU can be ranked behind Ohio State makes no sense. In the USA Today Poll, the coaches ranked MSU #8, ahead of a team they beat (Ohio State #10) and ahead of a team to which they lost (Miami #11), but behind #1 Indiana, to which they lost. How MSU is ranked ahead of Miami is beyond me.

Bottom line:  polls don't matter much, as Tom Izzo has proven over the years with respect to the Spartan hoops' performance in the national tournament.   But here is the USA Today poll below for grins.

USA Today Coaches Poll
1Indiana (25) 20-2766
2Florida (6) 18-2742
8Michigan State18-4518
10Ohio State17-4502
11Miami (FL)17-3485
15Kansas State17-4314
16New Mexico19-3295
22Wichita State19-483
23Ole Miss17-469
24Oklahoma State15-557
25San Diego State16-554
  • Others receiving votes: Notre Dame 47, Colorado State 38, Marquette 38, Virginia Commonwealth 33, Wisconsin 25, North Carolina State 24, Memphis 19, Saint Mary's 18, Southern Miss 13, UNLV 12, Belmont 7, Louisiana Tech 6, Middle Tennessee 4, Kentucky 4, UCLA 4, Oklahoma 2, Akron 2, Saint Louis 1
  • Dropped from rankings: North Carolina State 19, Marquette 25