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Sports Saturday on TUS – Mailbag and MSU vs. Oakland Game Thread
Dec 16th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

It is Saturday in mid December.  For sports this means the middle section of games acting as preparation for the conference season; except if you are a member of the B1G Conference.  It also means College Football Bowl Games start in earnest!

In honor of Disney having taken the next step in its quest to own and control all programming all the time, I thought I would note that on the TUS Movie Channel Beach Blanket Bingo is playing at 6PM tonight.  The movie stars Rick Pitino (as Frankie Avelon) and Annette Funicello.  The fun and frolicking of this start-studded- flick, starts in the dorms at the University of Louisville before moving to the beach scenes.

Mailbag

Q “Can we get any lower in the barrel with announcers Clay Matvick and Brook Weisbrod calling the game?” – from Tommy H in Florida.  At first glance likely not.  However if I remember correctly these two called the game last year and were hot as bad as you fear.  Matvick and Weisbrod are not new to calling games, but both have bumped around quite a bit and worked on almost every sports network.  If I were to pull a Marine I would label them as “Utility 2x.”

Q “Why did I not get a bigger role in the movie Beach Blanket Bingo?” –  from Ben Green.  You bumped up against the Dixon Line and “could not go north” so-to-speak.

Q “Why does Ricky P. get all the spicy and saucy gigs?” – from an Irish Lad.  It is the hair!

 

Go Green!

Words and Phrases for Use in December 2017
Dec 14th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Optimism usually (but not always) gives way as reality sets like cement in Eeyore’s driveway.

Dumping, unloading, clearing,  shedding = Detroit Tigers, once a member of Major League Baseball’s American League.

Slumping, fading, skidding = Detroit Piston’s, once an icon and proud representative for the city of Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

Dollar-short-period – late, Fold Artists = Detroit Red Wings, once a long standing member of the Post-Season Playoffs in the National Hockey League.

#@ZXR$ = Detroit Lions, once the proud Portsmouth Spartans who won 4 NFL titles before an embarking on a 60 year title drought.  Only team in NFC to have never played in Super Bowl.

Worth Supporting, Worth following, Worth Cheering [sic., for] = Michigan State University Athletics.  Go Green!

Note:  GoSt8Go requires that the words: Level, Classification and Categorization not be used on this site.

 

For Sale
Dec 12th, 2017 by Ghost Of Biggie

For Sale:

Douglas A-4 ‘Skyhawk’ Developed by McDonnell Douglas, this single seat attack aircraft has a vicious past. Though it was also capable of carrying missiles and other munitions, the A-4 has the unique distinction of also being capable of carrying nukes. For obvious reasons decommissioned A-4s don’t have this ability however, you can still expect to travel at speeds of nearly 600MPH. Price $3,000,000.

Read more: 23 Military Designed Aircraft The Rich Enough Civilian Can Legally Own! http://americaloveshorsepower.com/23-military-aircraft-civilians-can-legally-own/17/?v=2<img

Is TH interested?

Trip to the Final Four in WVB and Attempting to Stay Focused in MBB: Match & Game Threads
Dec 9th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Alyssa Garvelink (17), Holly Toliver (18) and Rachel Minarick (12) help lead MSU to the Elite Eight.

It is a busy Saturday in early December for MSU Athletics.  It also appears Saturday is date night for TUS members; including one who appears to have become smitten with a Alabama SEC Belle. It my understanding TUS Compliance is reviewing regulations on the latter.

The Women’s Volleyball team is the headliner as they try to earn a trip to the NCAA Final Four in Volleyball tonight [8PM ET ESPNU). Standing in the #12 Spartans way is the #1 Nitany Lions (32-1).  The NCAA Regional Final is being held on Penn State’s home court in State College.  MSU will have to play near perfect if it is to advance.  MSU is 7-44 all-time and 0-7 in its last matches.  The Spartans lost 3-1 in each of this season’s matches.  However, both were close with MSU having many chances to steal the victory in each contest.

The Women’s and Men’s Basketball squads are playing the 3rd (of 5) Home double-headers.  The Spartan ladies (5-3) take on Rhode Island (1-7) (2:00PM ET BTN+).  The #3 Spartan Men (7-1) take on Southern Utah (5-3) (6PM ET BTN).

Time on the Pine or its 21st Century Version
Dec 6th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Nick Ward.

Michigan State University Basketball Head Coach Tom Izzo is a passionate man who wears his emotion on his sleeve.  Do you want to know Tom’s current position on the immediate subject in question?  Simply take a look at him.  And if you are within a quarter-mile shouting distance the vocal narrative is additive.  Add the Italian linage of vibrant body posture and the picture before you can be one of brutal honesty and full-color.

Izzo like some of the true greats in the basketball coaching realm (i.e., John Wooden), are teachers and instructors who believe that basketball coaching is only a part of their overall role.  Their style may be different, but these kind of coaches believe they are instructors guiding young men into the next stage of adult life.  Izzo is human and therefore not perfect in the execution of his role. TUS Membership is constantly pointing out this fact.  However, step back and think about all of the players that have come through MSU under Izzo.  How many visibly grew as players and adults under his leadership – and openly thank him to this day.  I think the answer is many, many more than not.

Tom Izzo believes great defense creates the equal result on offense.  And the teams with superior defense and good or better offense ultimately win over lesser’s.  To play a material long-term role on a Tom Izzo team you have to be (or become) skilled in your defensive role.  Who was the player Izzo said could not guard the opposition even if the game was being performed in a Phone Booth?

So now we come to the current crew at MSU,  The 2017-18 Spartans appear to be the deepest and most balanced team in years – perhaps ever.

A couple of key players on the team, Nick Ward and Cassius Winston have a tendency to take time off (while on the court) losing focus – especially on defense.  This style does not work for Tom Izzo and the last I heard he makes the call on playing lineup and playing time.

In last night’s Rutgers game – Winston and Ward were off their game.  Actually after 6 games in 12 days the whole team was off. A better than expected and fully motivated Rutgers team took advantage of the situation – making for a close game.  Izzo chose to play lineups that could deliver the defense needed to win the game.  The result? MSU held Rutgers to 25.8% shooting from the field and won the game. The implication?  Winston and Ward sat on the bench for long stretches.  On this night they did not answer the defensive bell.  Kenny Goins earned 19 minutes of playing time and as almost always was superb on defense.  Jaren Jackson earned 26 minutes and was stellar with 8 blocked shots.  Jackson was the offensive difference in the 2nd half with 11 points.

As is well documented Ward showed his emotion on the bench and let loose on his feelings after the game.  He wants to play and was frustrated.  Izzo said Ward simply had a bad game and not to read anything more into the situation.  No one can tell a person “how they feel.”  Therefore, I believe both Izzo and Ward are being honest and open with their feelings. Both effectively declared this night was in the rear-view mirror.

The ground rules for playing time at MSU are known and well established.  Do you want the opportunity for more playing time?  You know what to do.  It is that simple.

Is there a growing controversy or conspiracy?  If you are thinking one is growing at MSU look no further than the Ball Family Clan and U.C.L.A. for comparison.  Perhaps the Ball Family Clan can team up with Rick Pitino, and propose to MSU it drain the basketball swamp and they will come in and make MSU great again.  Some times change is needed.  In my opinion, Ward and Winston need to make the change.  If they do – they will be grateful in the end.

Note: MSU is now pushing their defensive field goal shooting for the season down towards 30%.  I have been told, no team to College basketball is within 3% of this number.

Thoughts?

MSU – Rutgers Game Thread (as proposed by USMC Retired)
Dec 5th, 2017 by 89 Chemistry

USMC Retired [December 5th, 2017; 1:54 pmat] writes: 

 

Michigan State’s early Big Ten slate wraps up tonight with a road trip to Rutgers.   I think it’s beneficial to have the 1st roady @Rutgers, but we’ll see.

The No. 3 Spartans thumped Nebraska 86-57 Sunday night, while the Scarlet Knights (6-2, 0-1) are coming off an 89-67 loss @Minnesota.   Tonight is just the sixth game in the series, which MSU leads 5-0

Michigan State resumes Big Ten play on Jan. 4 against Maryland.

When: 7 p.m. ET, Dec. 5, 2017

Where: Piscataway, N.J.

TV: Big Ten Network

Commentators: Dave Revsine (play-by-play), Jon Crispin (supposed analyst)

 

PROJECTED STARTERS

Michigan State (Head coach Tom Izzo, 5 foot 9, 180-pound old guy – 23rd season)

G: #5 Cassius Winston (6-foot, 185-pound sophomore)

G: #1 Joshua Langford (6-foot-5, 210-pound sophomore)

G/F: #22 Miles Bridges (6-foot-7, 225-pound sophomore)

F: #2 Jaren Jackson Jr.. (6-foot-11, 242-pound freshman)

F: #44 Nick Ward (6-foot-8, 245-pound sophomore)

 

Rutgers (Head coach Steve Pikiell, unk – 2nd season)

G: #0 Geo Baker (6-foot-4, 180-pound freshman)

G: #3 Corey Sanders (6-foot-2, 176-pound junior)

G/F: #35 Issa Thiam (6-foot-10, 190-pound sophomore)

F: #33 Deshawn Freeman (6-foot-7, 227-pound senior)

F/C: #21 Mamadou Doucoure (6-foot-9, 243-pound freshman)

The Reality and NE at MSU Gamethread
Dec 3rd, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Being Alabama and scUM matters if you follow the money – at least in open to choose outside on-field merit Bowl selections.  Luckily it does not always buy victories or titles and in the 21st Century – and in the case of scUM – rare if ever.

So in the New Years Bowls it will be Alabama playing for the CFP.  Two Four-loss and unranked teams (with large non-alumni Walmart fan bases); scUM (8-4) and South Carolina (8-4) will be playing in the Outback Bowl on January 1st.  The Outback picked scUM over #16 MSU.  It is the OBB’s choice.

Meanwhile ranked teams #16 MSU (9-3) will play #18 Washington State (9-3) in the Holiday Bowl on Thursday December 28th in San Diego.  Such is life!  All I know is MSU effectively owns UofM in the decade under Dantonio.  scUM is also a distant also-ran in B1G with zero conference or division titles during the same time. I predicted this outcome and configuration early this week.  I can sleep easy with the result.

Nebraska at MSU.  B1G Games in December and Conference Championship in NYC one week earlier than normal.  Again, follow the money!  However in BBall,  Duke, MSU, Kansas and Kentucky are The Money and The Brands.  The nice thing is we have a non-sell out HC and the name recognition as well.

IDIT. IIIT. IHIT. ITUSIT.  Go Green!

College Football Conference Championship Saturday
Dec 2nd, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

A boatload of title games to be played today.  Their outcomes will have a material impact on the College Football Playoff.  If the favorites win the current top 4 in the CFP are pretty much locked in to play for the title and MSU is likely headed to the Citrus Bowl (top non 6 bowl for B1G).  Upsets and it could be a mad scramble.

Your picks?  Your thoughts?

Read the rest of this entry »

#5 Notre Dame at #3 MSU Game Thread—by USMCRetired
Nov 30th, 2017 by Kindle

For just the third time in program history, Michigan State basketball will host a meeting between two top-five teams Thursday night when the No. 3 Spartans take on No. 5 Notre Dame to close out the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

The ACC has already locked up this year’s Challenge by going 11-2 so far, with the Big Ten’s only wins coming from Purdue against Louisville and Nebraska over Boston College. MSU will look to end things on a good note for the Big Ten against the one of two ACC teams in the top five (No. 1 Duke).

For the Spartans, Thursday night marks the third game against a top-10 team in less than two weeks. Michigan State lost to No. 1 Duke 88-81 in the Champions Classic on Nov. 14 but beat then No. 9 North Carolina, which steamrolled Michigan on Wednesday, 63-45 to win the Victory Bracket of the Phil Knight Invitational on Sunday in Portland.

The last time MSU played a top-five matchup at Breslin Center, the No. 5 Spartans beat No. 3 Ohio State on Jan. 7, 2014 behind a late 3-pointer and 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds from Keith Appling. Michigan State’s last game against Notre Dame came the following season, when MSU went to South Bend and lost 79-78 in overtime as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Thursday will be 96th meeting between the two programs, but it will be the first in East Lansing since 1974.

Memory Lane/Those were The Days:

It’s also just the second matchup between the two schools since 1979, when Magic Johnson (19 points, 13 assists) and Greg Kelser (34 points, 13 rebounds) led the Spartans to an 80-68 win in the NCAA tournament.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here’s everything else you need to know for tonight’s game.

When: 7 p.m. ET, Nov. 30, 2017

Where: Breslin Center, East Lansing, Mich.

TV: ESPN

Stream: WatchESPN

Commentators: Karl Ravech (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (analyst), Seth Greenberg (sidelines)

Listen: Spartan Sports Network (Affiliates), Spartan Sports Network Mobile App

Vegas: Michigan State -6 (138 O/U)

PROJECTED STARTERS

Michigan State (Head coach Tom Izzo – 23rd season)

G: #5 Cassius Winston (6-foot, 185-pound sophomore)

G: #1 Joshua Langford (6-foot-5, 210-pound sophomore)

G/F: #22 Miles Bridges (6-foot-7, 225-pound sophomore)

F: #2 Jaren Jackson Jr.. (6-foot-11, 242-pound freshman)

F: #44 Nick Ward (6-foot-8, 245-pound sophomore)

Notre Dame (Head coach Mike Brey – 18th season)

G: #5 Matt Farrell (6-foot-1, 175-pound senior)

G: #10 TJ Gibbs (6-foot-3, 188-pound sophomore)

G: #0 Rex Pflueger (6-foot-6, 206-pound junior)

F: #35 Bonzie Colson (6-foot-6, 224-pound senior)—(Their best player)

F: #23 Martinas Geben (6-foot-10, 252-pound senior)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Additional info from Matt Hoeppner~~~

Interior Defense

Michigan State is leading the nation in opponent’s two-point field goals. The Spartans are holding teams to just 33.9% shooting inside the arc. That is almost a full three percent better than the next closest team. That is an absolutely insane number. And it’s one that is skewed because of the easier opponents on MSU’s schedule. Here is how teams have fared on two-pointers against the Spartans.

Improved Shooting

Something else we saw come to life in Portland was the Spartans outside shooting. For the tournament, MSU went 28-for-67 from behind the arc, a very nice 41.8 percent. They hit double digit three’s in two of the three games.

They also didn’t just shoot threes. They averaged about 22 three-point attempts per game, which feels like a reasonable number for this team. They are below the average nationally of percentage of shots that they take that are threes and the percentage of their total points that come from threes. That number can probably come up a little and be right about the national average.

Too Many Turnovers

One area that remains a negative for Michigan State is the turnovers. MSU is now 304th with a 22.8% turnover rate. They turned it over an incredible 24 times against UNC and still managed to win by 18 points. They only had eight against UConn, but had 15 against DePaul.

All in all MSU has turned it over at least 14 times in five of their six games. They have two games with 20+ turnovers. The UConn game is the only one where MSU didn’t have double digit turnovers.  ( Last year’s team turned the ball over at a 20.5% clip. )

Colson’s their guy:

ND’s Bonzie Colson ranks second in KenPom’s player of the year ratings. Colson is averaging 20 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. He’s also blocking more than two shots per contest.  Colson does most of his work inside, where he shoots close to 64%, but he can also step out and hit the occasional three pointer (4-13 on the year). He’s also a very good free throw shooter at better than 77% for his career. He gets there quite often too.

MSU should have enough bodies to throw at Colson, although this could be a game where Jackson ends up on the bench often with foul trouble. That would require Schilling and Carter to step up.

The perimeter players will be interesting, especially Gibbs. At 6-3, 188lbs. Gibbs shouldn’t be a size issue for Langford or McQuaid, but they will need to keep him from going off like Grayson Allen did against them. You can’t expect Notre Dame to shoot 1-for-18 from three like North Carolina did.

Bowling from the Couch potato–Interruption thread
Nov 30th, 2017 by Kindle

From G. Couch on bowling:

The Spartans are not a part of the College Football Playoff picture. Nor do they have any shot at one of the other New Year’s Six bowls. That leaves their own bowl fate somewhat at the mercy of the teams that are part of New Year’s Six picture, before knowing where they’ll land in the Big Ten bowl-affiliated bowls.

MSU will be in either the Citrus Bowl, Outback Bowl or Holiday Bowl, which are considered the Big Ten’s three “top tier” games. That’s a lock after the Spartans beat Rutgers on Saturday to finish 9-3.

Here’s what’s new after Tuesday night’s rankings: If Wisconsin beats Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game, MSU is likely headed to the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1 in Orlando. That’s the top Big Ten game below the New Year’s Six bowls.

If Ohio State wins, MSU is probably playing in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 in Tampa or the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28 in San Diego.

Let’s start with how this plays out if Wisconsin wins Saturday night in Indianapolis, sending the 12-0 Badgers to the College Football Playoff. Tuesday’s rankings, which have Wisconsin at No. 4, confirmed that.

Where this impacts MSU is how Wisconsin winning affects the Orange Bowl. If a Big Ten team is in the Orange Bowl, a Big Ten team won’t be in the Citrus Bowl. The Orange Bowl this year features an ACC non-playoff team against the highest-ranked non-playoff team from the Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame.

Notre Dame is ranked No. 15 and its regular season is over. So the Irish are out of this conversation. Ohio State is No. 8 and Penn State is No. 9, while the SEC’s Auburn (2), Alabama (5) and Georgia (6) are further up the rankings.

If Wisconsin wins Saturday, Ohio State will probably fall a spot or two, but not quite out of the New Year’s Six games. Penn State doesn’t have anything to add to its resume.

Meanwhile, Alabama and/or the loser of the SEC championship game between Auburn and Georgia would be ranked higher than any non-playoff team from the Big Ten. Thus, the SEC would take the Orange Bowl spot, with Wisconsin, Penn State and Ohio State still in other New Year’s Six games.

Michigan (8-4) and Northwestern (9-3) are the other two Big Ten teams in play for the Citrus, Outback and Holiday bowls. Maybe Iowa, as well, for the Holiday Bowl. Michigan played in the Citrus Bowl just two years ago and, with Big Ten-affiliated bowls required to select five different teams in six years — a rule that went into effect in 2013 — the Wolverines aren’t an ideal fit for the Citrus Bowl. Northwestern’s smaller fan following makes it unlikely the Wildcats would be chosen ahead of MSU.

College football reporter Brett McMurphy, formerly of ESPN, wrote in his latest projections that the Wolverines were “pretty much a lock” for the Outback Bowl. McMurphy projects MSU for the Citrus Bowl, but again, that’s not entirely in the Citrus Bowl’s control.

MSU athletic director Mark Hollis said Tuesday night via text that there are “too many variables” to predict where the Spartans might land.

Hollis said he liked several things about MSU’s resume, beginning with Tuesday’s No. 16 ranking. That’s five spots ahead of Northwestern. Michigan isn’t in the playoff committee’s top 25 rankings. He also pointed to the Spartans’ tied-for-second-place finish in the Big Ten East, arguably the toughest division in college football, along with “good TV ratings numbers, 51,000 enrollment and a huge alumni base.” That includes in Florida.

“We are an attractive bowl team,” Hollis said.

If Ohio State beats Wisconsin, that attractiveness could be tested. The Buckeyes might or might not get into the playoff. If they don’t, they’ll be ranked just outside the playoff at No. 5 or 6 and in position to wind up in the Orange Bowl, which would take away the Citrus Bowl as an option for MSU.

Then, if Michigan is truly Outback-bound, the Spartans would be headed to San Diego for the Holiday Bowl.

Outback Bowl representatives were at MSU’s home finale against Maryland when Spartan Stadium emptied to all but about 10,000 fans in the second half. Surely their analysis would be deeper than that. The Spartans were at the Outback Bowl five years ago, beating Georgia in three overtimes, and brought a decent fan showing, considering the Spartans had just packed Indianapolis and had their hearts ripped out.

MSU has never played in the Holiday Bowl.

If the Buckeyes beat the Badgers, that might change. Perhaps a Rose Bowl rematch with Stanford a couple hours down the road.

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