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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 vs UNC Game Thread
Nov 26th, 2017 by Kindle

 

Michigan State vs. North Carolina Tonight

TEAM PPG PA FG% RPG APG BPG SPG STRK

92.8 73.6 49.4 44.6 19.0 4.6 5.4 W5

84.4 66.6 52.3 40.2 19.2 6.8 5.2 W3

GAME INFORMATION 
Who: No. 4 Michigan State (4-1) vs. No. 9 North Carolina (5-0)
When: 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Ore.
TV: ESPN
Radio: Spartan Sports Network, WJIM-AM (1240)/WMMQ-FM (94.9) in Lansing, WJR-AM (760) in Detroit
Line: Michigan State -2
Twitter: Follow Kyle Austin

The Spartans are coming off a 20-15 season that ended in a loss to Kansas in the Round of 32. Ranked second nationally to enter the season, Michigan State has a couple of cupcake blowouts sandwiched around a loss to No. 1 Duke. The Spartans were picked as the preseason Big Ten winner by the conference’s coaches.  MSU’s best player is still recovering from a sprained ankle and, thus, Miles Bridges is the wild card for MSU in this game.

In the previous thread Jersey John noted the following: “announcers for tonight’s hoops game are roxy Bernstein and bill Walton. never heard of her and I don’t recall Walton ever doing a Spartan game. I predict I will hate them both by games end.”  (A general discussion followed with a majority agreeing on all points except for Roxy’s gender)

UNC PLAYERS: Luke Maye is Carolina’s first player to score 100 points (106) and grab 50 rebounds (54) in a season’s first five games since Antawn Jamison in 1996-97.  This guy can score from any situation on the floor.  He is a Wooden Award Watch Candidate along with teammate Joel Berry.  You will also hear Kenny Williams and Theo Pinsons’ names called tonight.

More on Luke Maye: “A year ago, Luke Maye was an undersized forward buried on the depth chart behind future NBA players Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks and Tony Bradley. Maye was one of the wholesale substitutions Roy Williams would use to prove a point when his starting five wasn’t playing well.  But then March happened. Maye was the Most Outstanding Player of the South Regional after posting a double-double against Butler and netting the game-winner against Kentucky. Now, after dropping career highs in points (28) and rebounds (16) against Arkansas, Maye is a legitimate National Player of the Year candidate.”

* This will be the 16th meeting in the history of the two schools. North Carolina has won 12 of the 15 games overall, including seven straight. Tom Izzo is 2-10 against the Tar Heels. In the last meeting, an unranked North Carolina team beat No. 1 Michigan State in December, 2013.

* Michigan State has now advanced to the championship game of its preseason tournament for the fourth time in the last five years. Two of those times, the Spartans have won the tournament: the 2013 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic and the 2015 Wooden Legacy.

* Michigan State has lost five straight games against teams in the AP Top 10, dating back to its 2016-17 season-opener. Its last win over an AP Top 10 team was in January, 2016 against Maryland.

* North Carolina beat Arkansas, 87-68, in a semifinal game to qualify for the championship game. Junior forward Luke Maye notched career-highs in points (28) and rebounds (16).

* Spartans forward Miles Bridges returned from a one-game absence due to a sprained ankle in Michigan State’s semifinal win over Connecticut. He played 17 minutes in the game.

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

Some will say this is merely an early season test or measuring stick; that it’s what happens in March that really matters, and will shrug off a loss at this juncture.

Shrug if you will, but there is no denying that it is important to win a game like this.  Such wins are what helps to ensure a team gets a coveted No. 1 seed in the NCAAs. Experts feel that seed is “most important in helping better ensure a team advances to the Sweet 16 and possibly the Elite 8 before really playing a team that has the likelihood of matching up well.”

GO GREEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PK80 Kick’s Off – Spartans Shake Loose Win Game 1 – UConn Next
Nov 24th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

 

MSU’s Matt McQuaid drives to the basket. Fouled he sank both shots from the Free-Thow Line.

16 Men’s and 4 Women’s teams – All of the teams are sponsored by Nike Athletics.

  

The 16 team – three day – one city Men’s tournament honoring 80 year-old Phil Knight kicked off on Thanksgiving in Portland Oregon.  The teams will play again on Friday and Sunday.  A four-team double-header for Women’s basketball honoring Knight will be played in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday. The event is the brainchild of Michigan State Athletic Director Mark Hollis and has been six-years in the making.

Michigan State University is represented in both the Men’s and Women’s events.

After beating DePaul (73 – 51) late on Turkey Day, the Spartans Men’s (3-1) team will face the Huskies of the University of Connecticut(4-0) at 11:59 PM ET (ESPN).  UConn defeated Phil Knight’s Alma-Mater; Oregon 71-63.

The MSU vs. UConn theme continues on Saturday as the Women’s teams face off in Eugene 11AM ET (ESPN3).

In the game against DePaul, MSU was in the giving mood in the first half.  Turnovers, fouls, allowing for open shots and, disinterest in rebounding was the theme.  At one point in the first half – four of the five Spartan Starters were sitting on the bench with 2 fouls.  The game was tied 31-31 at the half for a few basic reasons.  Despite a multitude of opportunities DePaul shot poorly from the field (25%).  For the Spartans it was Matt McQuaid’s 3-4 and Josh Langford’s 2-3 shooting from beyond the arc that kept MSU close.

In the 2nd half MSU got their act together;  fewer turnovers, more rebounding and continued good shooting.  The result: a 22 point gap favoring MSU.  McQuaid continued his hot hand shooting another set of 3-4 from beyond the arc.  Jared Jackson contributed heavily in point and rebounds (finishing with 13-10).  For the 2nd straight game Freshman Xavier Tillman made the most of his 14 minutes contributing 6 points and gathering 4 rebounds.

 

Two Topics for One: Lack of Depth on the Bench and MSU Men’s Basketball Gamethread (Stoney Brook)
Nov 19th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Topic #1:  Lack of Depth on the Bench.

MSU’s victory in College Football left a lot to be desired.  However a win-is-a-win and there should be no discounting the Spartans turn-around.  Go Green!

However, can the broadcast networks be doing a poorer job of providing sportscasters and commentators for these regional\national contests? And the half-time talent?  Big names with little-to-no background covering and commenting on the college game.

Let us put the subject of bias off to the side.  Way off to the side!

Tim Brando and Spencer Tillman were about as bad as it gets.  Both were ill-prepared. Their game-call was mistake-ridden from start to finish.  It would probably be easier to count the number of times a play sequence did not include some type of announcing error.  And hey,wasn’t it great that MSU Alum Holly Sonders was the field reporter!  Did we get a report from the field? Seriously! Other than the self engrandizing “coming home” half-time segment, did Holly actually make a report from the field while the game was in progress?  Holly covers golf (with a good deal of competence).  College football?  Shame on you FOX!

As we are all aware, the issue is not isolated to this game or FOX.  What has happened?  Not enough money left-over after the payment to the conferences to hire good talent?  Too many games broadcast and not enough time for preparation?  Potential Announcers know that USMC(retired) and JerseyJohn are going to offer public ridicule so they have chosen another profession?  For example, where are the days of ABC Wide World of Sports and Jim McKay, Bill Flemming, and Chris Schenkel.  Gosh, Chris Schenkel’s call made bowling exciting! Do I have Rose Colored Glasses on this topic?

Topic #2: MSU Men’s Basketball Gamethread (Stoney Brook)

The Spartans take on Stoney Brook.  The Seawolves play in the American East Conference.  They are 0-3 so far this year – losing all games by double-digits.

If you are saying to yourself “hey why I am thinking Stoney Brook as being a pretty good team.”  Stoney Brook used to be a good team.  The Seawolves jumped into Division 1 basketball at the turn-of-the century (gosh that sounds weird).  Coach Steve Pikiell was retained soon after and Stoney Brook starting winning at a high-level.  From 2009-2016 Stoney Brook almost always finished around 22 and something, play in the American East Conference Title Game (usually losing to Vermont) and go to the NIT\CBI.  In 2016 Stoney Brook won the American East Title and made the NCAA Tournament – losing to Kentucky as #13 seed.  Pikiell was hired by Rutgers.  Jeff Boals left his position as an Assistant Coach at the Ohio State and was named Head Coach at Stoney Brook last season.  The Seawolves finished 17-12.

The Seawolves lost 76-61 (in Uniondale NY) to the team representing the heritage of Henrietta Maria of France and Queen Consort of England and Ireland.

All Smiles on MSU and Miles
Nov 6th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

The regular season for men’s college basketball at Michigan State begins Friday night against North Florida in East Lansing.

The Spartans and Sophomore Miles Bridges are the media darlings to start the 2017/18 season.  Only Duke (aka DUCK according to TH) tops MSU in love from the media. Most of TUS Membership winces (in discomfort) when the MEDIA looks favorably on MSU.  On these rare occasions, JJ is known to start looking for places to hide (witness protection programs, etc) so as not to jinx the Green & White.

MSU and Bridges are the headliners for today’s MBB launch on ESPN [here].  Ironically the lead story by Carvell Wallace is different than most of the ESPN hype.  It is actually a rather “deep” long format piece.  It is worth the reading.

The Associated Press came out with its pre-season All American Team [here].  Miles garnered the most votes.  So favored is Miles, that he led voting by a double digit margin – for only the 3rd time in the history of the AP.

As most of you know – I do not like the media hype.  Because if there are any bumps in the road during the course of the regular season – unneeded noise and drama usually occur – to exacerbate the situation.  If things go swimmingly – then the Media attention and pressure to win it all get even greater.  I hope this MSU squad can successfully weather to attention and make the Final Four.  However this is challenging for any team.

Football Notes:

Good news… no GREAT NEWS.  MSU is a 14.5 to 15.5 point underdog for Saturday’s game.  ODDShark has MSU losing by 18 (40-22).

I hope that MSU Head Coach Mike DEAntoni, his three legged dog JustABum, and his young over-matched team can find transportation down to Columbus for the schooling by the Acorns.

Weather Forecast:  Cloudy High 44 degrees. It is supposed to rain Sunday.  Encourage the weather system to speed up so that is rains during the game.

MSU Men’s Basketball Kicks Off 2017/2018 Season! – Ferris State at MSU Exhibition Simulcast
Oct 26th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

The Spartans Men’s plays Ferris State at 7PM!

Check your email for details on the TUS virtual tailgate!

Uncommon
Apr 14th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

un·com·mon
ˌənˈkämən adjective
  1. out of the ordinary; unusual.
    “lack of self-awareness is not uncommon for a person under the age of 19.”

It appears that Miles Bridges an 18 year-old student at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan is uncommon for an individual with his skill-set.

While most college-students are seeking to identify their career-path, Bridges appears to have a pretty good idea of what will be his first professional occupation.  People who make hiring decisions for employment in Bridges likely field of work, indicate Miles is ready for the next step.  People who would benefit financially (directly and indirectly) from Bridges seeking professional employment in the near-team (aka this month) also like the idea of Miles leaving school and securing that first paycheck.

As a matter of public-record, Miles has determined he likes college, and college life at Michigan State University. Bridges would like to enjoy this time of his life and not rush into his professional career.  Miles also thinks he can materially improve upon the skills needed for his professional career by staying in college.  Miles also wants to be a contributor – if not the leader – in adding to the legacy of his University in a positive manner.

Yes, we all know about the downsides of the choices Miles has made including all the negative blather generated by Media Talking Heads.  Hey, it is possible Miles could be the recipient of a MOAB bomb courtesy of the U.S. military.

However, if the choices Miles has made recently come to full fruition the implication is he will improve his skill set, gain additional mental preparation for post-college life, be recognized as a National Champion, be one the first five persons hired in his chosen professional, double his starting salary (e.g., selected #10 – #18 in 2017 versus #1-#5 in 2018), and best of all enjoy what Michigan State University offers – establishing life long friends, additional education on a variety of fronts, and possibly experiencing a couch burning.

Let the College Basketball Signing Period Dancing Begin
Apr 12th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

April 12th is the start of the official signing period for college basketball athlete’s (formal letter of intent). Signings can be made through May 17th.  Many players committed during the Early Signing Period (last November).

The Usual Prognosticators (officially banned from being a member in good standing of The Usual Suspects) have started all the blather.  They are incorrect in their predictions way,way more than they are correct.  However, much like Mel Kiper and Mock Draft 9,930.50 (for football) there predictions are about attracting eye balls not accuracy.

Here are some of the rags predictions.

Campus Insider

247Sports

mLive

 

TUS (driven by TUS Compliance regime) is all about being correct and timely.  So membership, we want your bottom-line, no conditions or caveats.  what say you?

  1.  Will Miles Bridges return to MSU for sophomore season (Yes/No).
  2. Will Ben Carter be granted an additional season of college play at MSU (Yes/No).
  3. Who in addition to Xavier Tillman and Jaren Jackson will commit/join MSU Basketball for the 2017-2018 season?
College Basketball National Championship Thread
Apr 2nd, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

As for college basketball March is over, but maybe not the madness. We have reached the National Championship Final. Today it is the ladies and tomorrow the men.

 

Other items of note for TUS Membership.

  • Guard Tori Jankoska received All-American Honorable Mention over the week for those that missed it.  Hmmm… 15 players better than Jankoska?  Really?
  • The MSU Baseball team lost to Minnesota 9-4 in East Lansing.  The Spartans (15-10) swept by the Gophers (18-8).  I knew Minnesota was good but I truly thought MSU would at minimum take the series and possibly sweep.  Good thing I only bet some of the Marine’s golf winnings and not my own.
  • The Spartan Women’s Softball Team won all three games against Maryland in East Lansing.  Granted Maryland (7-26-1 0-6) is not much this season, but the series sweep is encouraging. MSU (19-11 3-3) has not had a winning season since 2007 and went  winless in the B1G in 2012 (0-23).
  • Going into the last round of the Clemson Invitational MSU’s Womens’s Golf Team stands in fifth place at -1 PAR.  MSU’s Sarah Burnham is 8th overall.
  • Yesterday GoSt8Go successfully completed his first competitive race at the 10K distance (Monument Ave.).  I propose TUS change his name to Run GoSt8Go Run.

Who do you think will win the basketball games?  And what about those Tigers?

Read the rest of this entry »

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