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I put up the Other, so here’s I3T’s answer
Feb 23rd, 2018 by USMC Retired

UPDATE, UPDATE

I3T has spoken on the latest dirt being spread by the Media Vampires (of who Solari is now absolutely one)

https://247sports.com/college/michigan-state/Bolt/Michigan-State-Spartans-basketball-Tom-Izzo-releases-statement-on-report-indicating-Miles-Bridges-mom-took-money-from-agent-115474709

Basically says you people are stupid, we’ve told the NCAA all about all this a long time ago

An Albatross in Total Desperation
Feb 17th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The Entertainment Sport Programming Network (E.S.P.N.) is in a desperate situation.

The implication to TUS Membership is that E.S.P.N. is resorting to crossing ethical norms and responsible journalistic standards by creating sensationalist headlines and stories to keep subscribers and eyeballs.  Why? in order to stop a financial loss free-fall that is unprecedented in E.S.P.N. ‘s history.

The source of its most recent sensationalist material is the public naming of a Michigan State University basketball player who is possibly under investigation, and may or may not be charged with 4th degree assault (touching of another person without their consent).  In short, the public outing and shaming of a young adult without due process in a guilty until proven innocent manner.

E.S.P.N. presented the story as its lead late on Thursday and all day Friday. It was kept on the lead pages via questioning of Tom Izzo after MSU’s victory over Northwestern yesterday.  This is the latest effort by E.S.P.N. in their attempt to associate the Spartans most respected, successful, well known, and high profile coaches with a separate situation by claiming it is part of a bigger conspiracy.

As a former owner of a media syndication company, Associate Publisher of a group of newspapers, writer, and for two years a contracted assistant producer-director for a fledgling E.S.P.N. I am embarrassed by E.S.P.N.’s most recent efforts.  While E.S.P.N.’s premise might ultimately prove true, it trampled over the rights of an otherwise innocent person simply for generating ratings and new headlines.  E.S.P.N. you are better than this kind of work.  E.S.P.N. staff exacerbates the situation by asking MSU staff and coaches to comment and respond to questions knowing full well that if they do so they violate the law.  How weak and unprofessional.

The ends do not justify the means E.S.P.N.   Good investigative reporting can often help the helpless and get some justice for the afflicted and expose dishonesty and hypocrisy.  What you are doing ain’t it – not even close.  E.S.P.N. you are now on record of doing exactly the same thing as what you are trying to report – dishonesty and hypocrisy – in order to create a story.  Be aware, if you prove to be wrong E.S.P.N., it will be you who ends up being the only one who violated the public trust for your own gratification and profit at the expense of innocent and otherwise defenseless people.

I am not here to blindly support coaches, Izzo, Dantonio or anyone else at MSU.  If they are tied to committing a crime or covering one up; they should be held fully accountable. So, E.S.P.N. if you have facts demonstrating proof of crimes and or a cover-up present them.  Otherwise, get back to covering and presenting the sports content for which your subscribers are paying.

Jeff’s Worthless Trivia and other thoughts.

Perhaps the greatest challenge in front of our society in general and that of being citizen in the The United States in 2018 is that it feels as if all of us are constantly looking the other way when we see or know about a problem and or applying standards to someone else in remarkably hypocritical fashion.  Why? Well let’s be honest.  Dealing with an issue is often inconvenient and requires some level of confrontation.  And sometimes, if you do get involved, you can get dragged through the mud in the “no good deed get’s unpunished” school of life.

Let’s ask ourselves, what good are we if we are the one’s looking the other way when we know something is up as it relates to a crime that ultimately inflicts great harm.  I say – pretty worthless. With this in mind, I am going to call out E.S.P.N. for moving to being irresponsible.  And that irresponsibility may well discredit an otherwise important piece of investigative journalism.

Less than five years ago E.S.P.N. was the most valuable media property in the world (estimated at $40 Billion by Forbes in Q4 2012).  E.S.P.N. had over 100 million paying subscribers and full booking of advertising slots at top rates.  It was the foundation of Disney’s profits and image.

Today, it appears, E.S.P.N. has generated $4 – $5 Billion of loss each of the last two years.  The end to its losses are nowhere in sight as E.S.P.N is contracted to pay an unprecedented amount for its content with its subscriber base shrinking to approximately to 80 million and ad revenues down 11-15%. E.S.P.N’s recent public culling of staff and overhead has made its own sensational headlines.

E.S.P.N is attempting to demonstrate the horrific case of Larry Nassar and his multiple hundreds of victims is tied to a greater conspiracy that involves all of MSU and its athletics.  M.S.U. is proving to be complicit on a number of fronts and possibly many others as it relates to Nassar. The Nassar case and its related aspects is and should be covered by responsible investigative journalism.  However, putting the faces of Tom Izzo, and Mark Dantonio next to that of Larry Nassar with uncorroborated and known to be debunked storylines is irresponsible and sloppy.

I thought it might be funny and ironic that I put together four photos; that of Adoph Hitler and Eva Braun next to E.S.P.N’s Bob Lee, and Paula Lavigne.  Doing so, while maybe funny, would be completely unfair and inappropriate.  So I chose not to do so!

Northwestern: The last leg of the race is uphill
Feb 16th, 2018 by LeeBee

With three of the last four B1G games being on the road, the home stretch is definitely uphill.  The good news is there will be 5 days between the last two games.  Then; travelling again to the Big Dirty (NY that is).  To be sure, the Purdue win was exhausting and the Adrenalin probably took its toll for a couple of post game days; but, the entire team was energized while blowing out the shallow Golden Gophers.  Note that since that game with PU, they lost two more.  Perhaps the emperor was not so nattily attired.

The Spartans excelled while getting only 11 points combined from Langford and Bridges.  A testimony to the depth of this team.  This same depth resulted in 24 points from the bench where all 7 players averaged nearly 12 and one half minutes of playing time.  In fact, the starters played a combined 113 minutes and the bench played 87.

On to Northwestern.  They can be tough at home as evidenced by their defeating that team from West Ypsi.   Northwestern allows only  a respectable 65.9 points per game.  The Spartans score at an 83.3 PPG clip,  while averaging 8 more rebounds per game than the Wildcats.

Key points will be rest; which should not bother us, and turnovers.  A superior team can give an opponent a victory on turnovers alone.  We have improved over the last couple of games and it will be interesting to see if we can continue this trend as we move toward the really big tourney and some very tough opponents.

The Spartans love to play defense, the Spartans love to run.  My guess is MSU 78, NWU 63.  It may be close until the last 10 or 15 minutes; but, this team likes being back in first place and wants to stay there.

A Few Days to Stress, Reflect and Project
Feb 8th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

TUS Membership and MSU Men’s Basketball have a little bit of time between Tuesday’s victory and Saturday’s show-down with the Boilermakers of Purdue.  It is time to stress, reflect, and project.

Stress

Who is stressing these days?  I do not know about you, but I am stressing 24 x 7.  It is compounded for me because the stress appears to be streaming into my brain at 64bps in 8K HDR with commentary from Dan Dakich.  I did not sign up for the 3D option – so at least I’ve got that going for me.

Was this not supposed to be a stress a free season for MSU basketball and its supporters? Weren’t were led to believe that the return of Miles Bridges for another season of college basketball guaranteed that the winner of the NCAA Tourney in San Antonio had now been CALLED4MSU. Therefore, I did not have to worry my pretty little head about college basketball. I even bought land in San Antonio for a TUS MSU monument to be erected. Now, I am stressing that 9′ 4″ Boilermaker Center Issac Haas could step on and kill the entire starting five for MSU (all at once) to begin the game on Saturday and TV Ted will review and declare it was unintentional and let #44 stay in the contest.  Is it silly for me to be stressing about this?

Reflect

Who is reflecting these days.  I do not know about you, but I am reflecting on all subjects big and small.  For example, a lot of people say MSU Basketball and its players in 2018 have no game or mojo and may very well never have it.  Hmm… I decided to reflect. Upon reflection, I learned the disappointing fact that MSU has only only won 23 of 26 games.  Why did you miss seeing the trend that MSU has won only 88.5% of its games this season? If MSU truly has any game or mojo shouldn’t they be undefeated with teams forfeiting prior to game-time for the rest of the season?  TUS is for winners and not for losers.

Projecting

Who is projecting these days?  I do not know about you, but I am projecting around-the-clock and around-the-globe. True to the spirit of Talking Heads on Basketball Studio shows what I say and project is correct and visionary in nature. Unfortunately there is no broadcast time allocated to look back and see if what I am projecting is correct or inconsistent.  Given space restraints, let’s move ahead to later in this post.  Regardless, the official new rules around studio debate in the 21st century are as follows: Anyone who disagrees with me is wrong, fake, and should be talked over until they relent. Besides, even if they have molecule of a credible point – the rules apply to them and never to me.  You all know I am right about being right… right?

So what are you stressing, reflecting or projecting about as it relates to MSU Basketball heading to Saturday’s game?

Game Thread – #4 Spartans @ Iowa
Feb 6th, 2018 by 79 Spartan

Michigan State’s men’s basketball team plays its second-straight game away from home on Tuesday night, Feb. 6, visiting Iowa.

Tipoff at Carver-Hawkeye Arena is slated for 9 p.m. (ET).

On the Air 
The game will be shown live on ESPN, with Dave Flemming calling the play-by-play and Dan Dakich serving as the color analyst. The Spartan Sports Network radio call with Will Tieman handling the play-by-play, Matt Steigenga serving as the color analyst and Dalton Shetler as the studio host. The game can also be heard on Sirius/XM and Internet 81.

Top Notes 

  • Michigan State has won its last six games and seven of the last nine overall to improve to 22-3 overall and 10-2 in the Big Ten Conference.
  • Michigan State is off to one of the best starts in school history, with wins in 22 of its first 25 games this season.
  • MSU ranks No. 1 in the country in field goal percentage defense (35.4 percent), No. 3 in scoring margin (+19.0), No. 1 in blocked shots per game (8.2), No. 2 in rebound margin (+10.6) and No. 18 in scoring defense (64.2 ppg).
  • MSU also ranks No. 2 in field goal percentage (51.5 percent), No. 1 in assists (20.2 apg) and No. 26 in scoring offense (83.2 ppg).

Series History 

  • MSU has won 10 of the last 12 games, and 15 of the last 18 overall.

Scouting Iowa 

  • Iowa ranks third in the Big Ten in scoring offense and 14th in the league in scoring defense.
  • Iowa Hawkeyes are 12-13 (3-9 in conference with wins over Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota) and are 8-4 at home.
  • As a team, they shoot under 48% from the field and under 38% from the beyond the arc.
  • Tyler Cook, Jordan Bohannon, Luka Garza and Isaiah Moss are the only Hawkeyes averaging double figures with Bohannon (43%) and Moss (38%) the only significant three ball shooters.

Read the rest of this entry »

You’ve Got Mail!
Jan 24th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Given the outcome and implication of Larry Nassar and his actions being directly (and/or indirectly) associated with Michigan State University, the NCAA is now of an inquiring mind.

So if we thought MSU was above the fray as it relates to improper doings of a severe nature – think again.  And before any rationalization is put into words for reading on this site; remember the mud and calendar time Penn State and North Carolina had to endure under a similar cloud characterized as lack of institutional control.

What began as a likely four day and 88+ victim testimony sentencing for Nassar, enters its seventh day.  It appears that 159 victims will testify in some form or another before the sentencing hearing is  over.  The victims; from Olympic Champions to the child age daughter of a friend are on record.  The sheer number of victims, magnitude of the offenses and length of time Nassar operated unencumbered makes it hard to believe that the institution we know and love as Michigan State University run by people we have come to admire and respect – many who are acquaintances or friends is not complicit in a material fashion. However, we must let the process complete and not pre-judge without knowing the facts in the matter.

A story in the Free Press [here].

Sometimes There’s A Man–Giving Keith Jackson his own thread
Jan 15th, 2018 by Kindle

Born Keith Max Jackson, October 18, 1928, Roopville, Georgia, U.S. Died January 12, 2018 (aged 89) Los Angeles, California, U.S. Alma mater Washington State University, 1954 Occupation: Radio & TV personality/ Sports commentator Years active 1952–2006

EARLY LIFE

The son of a dirt farmer, Jackson was born in Roopville, Georgia and grew up on a farm outside Carrollton, near the Alabama state line. He was the only surviving child in a poor family and grew up listening to sports on the radio. After enlisting and serving as a mechanic in the U.S. Marine Corps, he attended Washington State University in Pullman under the G.I. Bill.  Jackson began as a political science major, but he became interested in broadcasting. He graduated in 1954 with a degree in speech communications.

For many of a certain age, Keith Jackson’s velvet, staccato voice and folksy insights weren’t merely synonymous with college football.

His unique touch conjured the game to life, in this moment reminiscent to me of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam.”

And his style and perspectives dominated and animated the soundtrack of our youth and love for sports – a wide world of them that included the nooks and crannies of that long-ago panoramic show and the Olympics and “Monday Night Football.”

So it was one of the great joys of my life when an indulgence of fate connected me with Jackson in the late 1990s to write his autobiography with him.

Through 20 hours of phone interviews and a memorable dinner in California with Jackson and his elegant wife, Turi Ann, we put together the underpinnings of a proposal.

But before we went any further, the idea unraveled because of Jackson’s frustration with a new middleman inserted into the mix.

At least that’s what he told me, and we had a few nice conversations after that.

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When the news broke Saturday of the death of Jackson, 89, I was compelled to rummage through boxes for the transcripts of those interviews and was grateful to find dozens of pages.What follows are excerpts focusing on his upbringing and philosophies of broadcasting, an oral history of Jackson’s life in his own words starting with his roots in rural Georgia that includes some details that Jackson rarely shared.

On his childhood:

“I was born on the kitchen table … We grew everything we ate. … I rode a horse to school …

“I rode to church with my grandparents in a horse and buggy, and you could possibly capsulize my life this way: In my 50th year, I played golf with guys who had walked on the moon.

“When I was about 4 years old, my father shot my grandfather and killed him. The bullet went through my mother’s cheek. And just missed me.

“To this day, I don’t know why. Not four people know about this. But I don’t think I can write a book without revealing it. Because the point of the book is don’t sing me your sad songs that I can’t do this and I can’t do that. You can do anything you want.

“I don’t know what caused it. I have never asked what caused it. I never had a relationship with my father. He went to prison.”

“My mother was working as a registered nurse, so my grandmother worked in the fields and raised cotton and corn and sweet potatoes and watermelon. She belonged on the frontier.”

“I had a battery radio. I’d climb up as high as I could in an old pecan tree, as high as I could without breaking my neck, and on a pure night you could listen to the (St. Louis) Cardinals. … We didn’t have the Braves then. The Atlanta Crackers were the (local) team, in the old Southern Association.

“One day my grandmother told my mother, ‘You need to go out there in the corn field and talk to your kid, because he may be crazy. He’s out in the corn field talking to himself.’

“I actually wasn’t talking to myself. I was just describing Walter Mitty’s flight over the line in the Rose Bowl. And I still see him some Saturdays. … I never sang in the shower. I called ballgames.”

“I knew that I was (going to be a broadcaster), but I didn’t know it. I’m simply doing what God made me to do. I don’t know how else to tell you.”

Jackson lied about his age, 17, to get into the U.S. Marine Corps.

“I wasn’t ready for college. I had no idea what I would have studied had I gone to college then. Wasn’t sure I could afford college. I got such an incredible jolt of confidence from my four years in the Marine Corps.

“When it was time to re-up, (the Korean War) was on the horizon. I knew something by then about things going on there. I was smart enough to listen and talk to people. I didn’t think there was a reason for Korea; I didn’t think there was a reason for Vietnam, either.

“But the Corps gave me more than I gave it. I went a lot of places and did a lot of things.

“The first time I saw the flickering little image called live television was when I returned from a tour of duty in China as a young Marine. It was in San Francisco. … It was about the most fascinating thing I had ever seen, though at the time (I had no idea) idea that most of the rest of my life might be involved with it.

Through the G.I. Bill, Jackson decided to go to Washington State to study criminal science.

“I took a little sniff at political science but began to get the feeling that this was going nowhere. … It didn’t seem like quite the right fit.

“I was lying in my dorm, listening to the local radio station, the broadcast of a Cougar football game. And it was all right, but it wasn’t that good. I felt I might do better given a little whittling time.

“I approached Burt Harrison, a professor and core character in the broadcast school named after Edward R. Murrow. … He was sitting in the music library, room of old records, at an old Underwood typewriter.

“I never would have had the (guts) to approach him if I hadn’t been in the Marines. So these things all go together.

“He pondered my arrogance for a moment while writing a classical music script for use on (local) radio. Then he reached into his desk drawer, handed me a tape recorder and told me to go record a game and let’s see if it’s any good. And I did. I wish I still had it, because it had to be awful.

“He listened to it (and said), ‘I don’t think you’re too bad.’ From there the journey was underway.”

Jackson changed majors, and in the autumn of 1951 began working for a small radio station in Moscow, Idaho, doing high school football for $15 a game.

In 1952, he did his first football game for Washington State, where he met his wife, aka “my feisty Viking.” He spent years in TV in Seattle before beginning a long association with ABC in 1962.

With the “Wide World of Sports,” he’d travel to 31 countries and cover everything from barrel-jumping wrist-wrestling to ski flying to a World Bikini Olympics, as he recalled it.

He would go on to call auto racing and 10 Olympics and several World Series and be part of the inaugural season of “Monday Night Football.”

“Everything except demolition derby,” he said.

But there was nothing he was more identifiable with than his role in college football, from the Rose Bowl, which he coined “the granddaddy of them all,” to dozens of campuses all over the nation that left an impression on him.

Typical of those observations was this recollection of Knoxville, Tenn:

“The river comes around the stadium, around the bridge, to the corner of town and back around the Hyatt. Right down at the corner where the turn is, the moon comes out on the third Saturday of October. It’s always a full moon. If Tennessee wins, the moon is orange. If Alabama wins, I’ll be damned if it’s not red.”

Alas, left untranscribed and unavailable Saturday from the interviews are Jackson’s views on many of the personalities he dealt with, many of the games and events he uniquely captured.

But here are a few of his memories and observations that were available:

On “Monday Night Football” with Howard Cosell and Don Meredith, an adventure that included his pants catching on fire at the Cotton Bowl from a Cosell cigar butt: “My job was a very simple one: to try to make sure the people knew what the score was, because there wasn’t much room to say anything more.”

On what makes college football special:

“The work ethic. I like the work ethic. Because you have to earn your way. And the little guy is always going uphill, but that’s why God made him a little bit quicker and probably a little bit more determined. And that’s why the people who coach the game have realized we can’t all be tree trunks. We have to wave and weave through the forest.

“It’s a festival. … I don’t know of anything else that happens on campus that can affect the attitude of 100,000 people, and by the end of the week that number could be a million people because everybody passes it on.”

On his turns of phrase, among the most memorable of which were “Big Uglies” for offensive linemen and “fum-BLE” and one he didn’t like to talk about — “Whoa, Nellie,” feeling his usage of it was exaggerated:

“Nobody writes my stuff. Most of the things you hear me say are not written. They’re a byproduct of your studying and preparation and your willingness to turn a phrase. I don’t have any trouble saying something in a manner that nobody else has said it. I know I can do that. And there are certain times I don’t give a damn if you understand what I say or not. If you think about it, you can figure it out. …

“It’s the flavor of the individual. It has to come naturally, otherwise it’s not flavor.”

On the duty of the broadcaster:

“There are times I turn on an athletic contest that I’m quite sure my profession has died. … If he wants to go into show business, he should go back to vaudeville and get his own stage. Amplify, clarify, punctuate. Don’t intrude. I live by that. I do not in any sense at any time try to intrude on what’s happening. I merely define it.”

Yes, he did, leaving us all the better for it. Rest in peace, Keith.

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Vahe Gregorian is a sports columnist at The Kansas City Star: 816-234-4868, @vgregorian

Optimism, Hype & Reality – Two Sports Same Time
Jan 6th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

2017 is barely put to bed and 2018 is racing out of the barn with what appears to be no harness.  At least that is how it feels for the Men’s Basketball and Men’s Football programs at Michigan State.

TUS membership would (possibly in consensus)  agree there is reason for optimism for both programs in 2018. The support for such optimism is substantial and quantifiable.

As for the hype.  Most of TUS Membership dislikes our teams and players being hyped in the media. Our midwestern public school foundation does not allow us to feel comfortable with monikers such as Elite.  Cannot [sic., They] simply say MSU is arguably one of the best instead of labeling us as Elite?

As for basketball, the hype from the media is usually centered on Tom Izzo and MSU’s uncanny runs deep into March Madness.  This year, the return of a key player moved the hype and attention to a particular player.  Now many MSU players are getting some hype (e.g., Jackson, Ward).

The football program at MSU rarely gets any type of hype and usually has to over perform to gain credit and receive accolades.  Well, for 2018 MSU is smack dap in the middle of the pre-season hype.  To my surprise it comes from ESPN.  To my greater surprise, ESPN tells the king of hype (Jim Harbaugh) effectively to move out of the way.  The story is [here].

Eventually, reality comes a calling.

Basketball

MSU basketball was a (if not the) favorite to take the NCAA title for 2018.  With the regular season at the half-way mark MSU is 15-1 and appears to have strengthened its position as the favorite.  TeamRankings lists MSU as the clear favorite – 78% to make Sweet 16, 38% to make Final Four and 17% to win the title. TeamRankings’ methodology is better than fuzzy math, but the games have to be played.

Usually a good dose of hard reality for MSU basketball is playing a game on the road in Columbus, Ohio at Value City Arena against the Acorns on a cold dreary overcast Sunday afternoon in January on national T.V.  More often than I would care to remember, the MSU squad for which we are optimistic seems to lose its skills and mental focus.

The hard reality is that for any team to take the NCAA Crown in April, it needs virtually everything associated with basketball and the human condition to fall in its favor for six straight games.  The 2015-16 MSU team was about as good as the college game can produce.  It was a Spartan squad that was a fun, versatile and was viewed in a similar light at this same point in the season as our current edition.  The 2015-16 team was the clear favorite to take the title at the start of the NCAA Tournament.  The team fell victim to Middle Tennessee State in arguably the biggest upset in tourney history.  Is this team different?

Football

MSU football 2018 is now on the radar as a possible title contender.  The media is using phrases such as “MSU is back at the top”, the 2016 3-9 season “turns out to be a blip” for the Dantonio administration.  With 21 of 22 starters returning from a 10-3 Holiday Bowl winning team what MSU fan would not be excited?  While MSU’s schedule in 2018 is favorable, the Spartans play in the B1G East and right now that means Penn State, Ohio State and even the bumbling, stumbling, overrated, over hyped Michigan are big blocking events in the route to a national title.  Yes, I said it; a national title.

The scene is already changing.  Backup QB Messiah deWeaver is transferring and Co-Defensive Coordinator Harlon Barnett is leaving MSU for a bigger pay-day and the full DC title at Florida State.

TUS Tax TIPS:

The federal tax legislation changes of 2017 include some material changes to college (amateur) sports.

  1. Individuals may no longer deduct the cost of season-tickets or seat license fees paid to said institutions.  Prior to 2018 these amounts were fully deductible.
  2. Not-for-profit institutions paying individual staff more than $1m a year in salary are no longer tax exempt on these salary’s.  For example, Alabama pays Nick Saban $7.2M a year.  Now they will have to pay an additional $1.2 million in tax.
    1. Breakdown for JJ to consider. Using our 11 minutes of play per game 12 game season analysis, Nick makes: $54,545.45 per minute of action. $3,636.36 per play of action (assuming 4 second average). $909.09 per second of action.  The only kind of people I know that make this kind of money are Fighter Pilots, State Police, IT Security Experts, Supply Chain Distribution Experts, Restaurant Owners, Commercial Real-Estate Developers and Doctors.
  3. For more the story is [here].

So what is your take?

A New Year; New Begining or Same Story?
Jan 1st, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

It is 2018 around the globe! Happy New Year!

So what will 2018 bring us that is new and exciting?  What be the same old story?

The first night of the year produces a full moon!

The University of Michigan football team – with their turnover-athon – choke in the Outback Bowl to South Corolina early on day one.  Gosh you gotta love UofM football if you are a MSU fan.  The hype is so high and the performance so underwhelming this century for the skunk bears. The B1G conference was superb (7-0) to finish 2017.  And then the Wolverines demonstrate they are truly The Boat Anchors of  B1G.

Thoughts?

Savanah State looks to be the next Victim of the soon to be #1 Spartans
Dec 31st, 2017 by USMC Retired

With both The Rollies and Cacti losing, all teams of note in the College Basketball World now have at least 1 loss. Given the Spartans current status of he last poll, it seems logical to assume (knowing that word usually just makes and ASS of U and ME) I3T and the gang will be the new #1 team in the Land come Mama’s and Papas Day. So I’m trying this to save ’89 the effort(seems to be working so far – yeah)

Standing between the 13-1 Spartans and the No. 1 ranking is a 3-11 Savannah State team that has lost five in a row. Most recently, the Tigers lost to Virginia 78-47 back on Dec. 19. Their three wins this season have come against Middle Georgia State, Alabama State and Carver College.

Although Savannah State isn’t a great team as a whole, it should provide somewhat of a test for Michigan State, which head coach Tom Izzo has said needs to work on 3-point defense. The Tigers lead the country with 563 attempted 3-pointers on the season, which comes out to just a hair more than 40 per game. They only shoot 29.7% from distance, but Austin Dassent (37.8%) and Zach Sellers (34.5%) are better than the team average, while Dexter McClanahan leads the team in 3-point attempts (7.1) while shooting 32%.

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

When: 12 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 31

Where: Breslin Center, East Lansing, Mich.

TV: Big Ten Network

Commentators: Greg Amsinger (play-by-play-sort of), Jon Crispin (silly little talking head)

Listen: Spartan Sports Network (Affiliates), Spartan Sports Network Mobile App, Sirius 145, XM 195 and Internet 957

Vegas: Michigan State -39.5

PROJECTED STARTERS

Michigan State (Head coach Tom Izzo – 5′?? 175# Old Guy – 23rd season)

G: #5 Cassius Winston (6′, 185# sophomore)

G: #1 Joshua Langford (6′ 5″, 210# sophomore)

G/F: #22 Miles Bridges (6′ 7″, 225# sophomore)

F: #2 Jaren Jackson Jr.. (6′  11″, 242# freshman)

F: #44 Nick Ward (6′ 8″, 245# sophomore)

Savannah State (Head coach Horace Broadnax – 13th season)

G: #3 Zach Sellers (6′-1, 175# sophomore)

G: #1 Austin Dasent (6′-3, 190# senior)

G: #22 Dexter McClanahan (6′-5, 180#  junior)

F: #5 Javaris Jenkins (6′-6, 205# senior)

C: #10 Maricus Glenn (6′-10, 235# senior)

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