SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
After Nasty Outrage and Condemndation, How Are MSU Sports Team Performing This Spring?
Apr 15th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Each new day appears to bring news and or evidence that Michigan State Athletics and MSU Administration has a lot to answer for in terms of its culture.

As we are all too aware there has been some nasty outrage and outright condemnation towards our Spartans and the University.  And while MSU has attempted to acknowledge and rectify the situation, its early steps could be best characterized as misfires – at least to its recipients (i.e., the victims of abuse).

While I do not want to ignore or show disrespect to the people who have been harmed, I also think we should not ignore the men and women currently participating in Spring Sports as representatives of Michigan State University.

So how are the teams and athletic programs doing as of April 15th 2018?

MSU Women’s Golf is ranked #10 nationally and has a good shot of advancing to the NCAA Tournament Championship round.  The B1G Championship is next weekend. and NCAA starts May 7th.

MSU Women’s Rowing is ranked #16 nationally and has a good shot of advancing to the NCAA Tournament Championship round.  The B1G Championship is May 13th and NCAA May 25th.

The MSU Women’s and Men’s Outdoor Track & Field Teams are making strong improvement as the season progresses.  MSU finished 2nd (Men) and 3rd (Women) in this weekend’s B1G\ACC Challenge (Louisville, ND, MSU,Purdue).

As for the rest?

Lacrosse: To the dislike of many TUS Members including USMC(retired) MSU does not participate in Lacrosse as a varsity sport.

Softball:  MSU continues to be a sub .500 program overall.  The Spartans are 16-21.  The good news is MSU swept JJ’s favorite (PSU) in a double-header (7-1,6-2) on Saturday in State College, PA. MSU’s Kristina Zalewski was the star of both games. MSU’s #1 pitcher started and completed both games striking out 19.  Yes, both games.  The Spartans lost to the Nitany Lions on Friday 8-6.  PSU (7-30) is not very good.

Baseball:  MSU has fallen off in 2018 in a material manner.  TUS Membership has grown accustomed to the Spartans flirting with and even earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament and taking the B1G Title.  Not this year.

Men’s Golf:  MSU is usually decent but 2018 has seen a fall off.  MSU is ranked #54 (Golfstat) in the country.

Men’s Tennis:  MSU is usually an also-ran in most years, and performing the same this season.  MSU under Gene Orlando (1992 – present) has had 10 season above .500. In 103 seasons MSU has won .49% percent of its matches and 33% in B1G competition.

Women’s Gymnastics:  MSU finished 10th in B1G.  Two Spartans advanced as individuals ot the NCAA Regional in Columbus.  Freshman Lea Mitchell competed in the all-around, while senior Hailee Westney performed on bars.  Neither advanced to the NCAA Finals.

Women’s Tennis: MSU Women’s Tennis is 14-7 0verall and 5-4 in B1G.  The B1G Tournament starts April 28th.  MSU was very good in the 1970’s.  MSU won a number of B1G Titles during this period. Childhood friend Debbie Mascarin won the B1G Singles and Doubles Titles during this period.  Deb had few flaws.  Her choice of boyfriend during high-school was one of them and a “low water” point.  Boyfriend = Andary.

 

 

 

Legendary Figures, Images and Story-lines: America’s Greatest Legacy or Achilles Heel?
Apr 12th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Legendary figures, images and story-lines are part of America perhaps like no other country or culture. American in this context means the United States of America.

History may prove that America and its culture was the very best at creating, building, and then dismantling with swift prejudice our legendary figures, images, and story-lines.

Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Apple Pie, Paul Bunyan, Joe Pa, Tiger Woods, Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes, O.J. and Michigan State University Athletics are good examples of people, institutions, and objects that have grown to be dominant or ubiquitous in our society.  In short – icons.

In some cases these icons eventually come under heavy attack for a previously hidden flaw in their character or public act that leads to a fall from grace. Sometimes the fall is quick and dramatic.

More often than not the path to and from iconic status is the same :

1.) Great skill and success in some area that America deems worthy or important is associated with our future icon.

2.) Build-up and hype establishes iconic status – some time in mercurial fashion.

3.) A serious flaw or weakness exists within the icon that would otherwise reduce or eliminate the status.

4.) America in general does not know about the flaw and often does not care as long as the situation works for them.

5.) Supporters and handlers of the icon deem it is to America’s benefit to keep the Icon’s flaw or weakness under wraps.

6.) Supporters and handlers continue to look the other way or worse block the revelation; even to the point of completely discrediting a story or person that might undue the iconic status and gravy train.

7.) The flaw is eventually revealed and denied publicly.

8.) The flaw, the cover-up of the flaw, and its implications eventually turn out to be the truth.  The cover-up is almost always more damaging and damning than the flaw.

9.) All hell breaks loose.

10.)  Too, too many scenarios about what occurs next to list here.

And now to our beloved Michigan State University…

MSU is reeling.  It feels as if MSU is careening from one ugly revelation to another.  Nassar, The MSU Medical School Dean, Athletic Department Staff, and Athletes are in the headlines and or in jail.  The University and anyone in an oversight role is getting skewered publicly.  And in the pendulum of life; even people and organizations who are less than savory are using MSU’s fall from grace to advance their agenda almost unimpeded.

I am human and therefore I have flaws.  Given this condition I am not going to judge or throw stones [sic., at] any person or institution from the Pedestal of Perfection.

Also, I am not one to blindly support any person or institution or immediately discredit or dismiss an accuser out of hand.  Also, I am not one to run away or jump ship from someone or institution when challenges appear.

In my opinion and given what is presently known, MSU has messed up big-time on several fronts.  In some instances in astonishing and possibly unprecedented fashion. And with a large GULP… it appears institutional look-the-other-way’s or cover-ups are rearing their ugly heads.  This is humiliating and humbling to me as a graduate and supporter of MSU.

Until now, MSU in the public eye was the darling of the 21st Century – Academics, Athletics, Students, Athletes, Instructors, Administrators, and Coaches.

If you were a Spartan or supporter or fan of MSU – the times were good.  It was a time every major airport or national publication was celebrating and promoting the story Spartan Will. It was a time of catch-phrases such as January-February-Izzo being treated as a fact to the end of time.

Similar to the stories of Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Apple Pie, Paul Bunyan, Joe Pa, Tiger Woods, Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes and O.J. – the imagery of 21st Century MSU did not quite match the reality.

 

What Say You Educated Guesser?
Mar 5th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Alumni from Michigan State Football and the current Michigan State University Basketball team are situated at the top of sports news headlines today – Monday March 5th, 2018.

MSU Alum QB Kirk Cousins (currently a member of the Washington D.C. Redskins) is about to hit the free agent market.  The Talking Heads and Experts (aka Educated Guesser’s) state that Captain Kirk can command $30M per year for six years – the highest salary ever.  Wow!  Thoughts?

MSU Alum RB Le’ Veon Bell (currently a member of the Pittsburgh PA Steelers) appears to be far away from agreeing on a new contract. The Talking Heads and Experts (aka Educated Guesser’s) believe that Bell (arguably the best RB in the NFL) may be tagged with the Franchise (player) status for a second year in a row.  The Steelers would be allowed to pay $14.5M for the ability to make the designation. According to the TH\E’s, Bell wants a long-term contract and is threatening to retire.  Thoughts?

MSU Basketball is square in the middle of the discussion of the upcoming NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Talking Heads and Experts (aka Educated Guesser’s) cannot talk about seeding or favorites without mentioning MSU.  MSU (29-4 and B1G Regular Season Champion) lost to rival scUM in the BBT Semi-Final.  The loss stung.  However most of the Poll Voters, Bracketologist’s and TH\E’s were on record today as seeing MSU remaining near the top of the seeding. Thoughts?

MSU Will (Likely) Not Get a #1 Seed And It Does Not Matter
Feb 28th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

The Michigan State University Men’s Basketball team is highly unlikely to earn a #1 Seed in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.  This conclusion even considers the Spartans adding the B1G Tournament Title to its Regular Season Title and current 28-3 Record. So, forget About It!!!

What matters is we and most who follow college basketball know MSU is one of a handful of teams that are highly likely to advance to the Final Four in San Antonio.

As we all know if your team is a Seed between #1-#3 (and sometimes a #4) they have fairly level playing court trying to get to the Final Four.  The material hindrances to getting to the Final Four are the Region placement and opponent match-ups (e.g. facing Duke in the Sweet Sixteen somewhere in North Carolina).

So why won’t MSU get #1 Seed

The numbers and a new system for the Selection Committee using them is the blocking event.  The new quadrant system using the Ratings Power Index (RPI) as its baseline currently has MSU no better than a #2.  Good or bad that is the way it is.

It should be noted the Quadrant System method was recommended by a sub-committee that included coaches.  The exception is they recommended using three measures – Basketball Power Index, Sagarin Index and KenPom Index – as the basis and not the RPI. They believed the RPI was too flawed to use as the foundation.  The TUS Department of Statistics has created a Seeding using the recommended model. Purdue is at #4 and MSU #5 overall and are in a virtual tie for the last #1 Seed as of yesterday.

In order to get to a #1 Seed in the current system of measures MSU needs to win the BTT and have Virginia, Duke, Xavier and Kansas lose another game in the regular season and or lose early in their respective tourney’s.  Otherwise it is a #2 Seed.  If MSU loses on Friday in the BTT do not be surprised to see the Spartans as a #3 Seed.

While MSU is notorious for playing a brutal Non-Conference schedule (NC-SOS) – often in the top ten in the country in terms of difficulty – this season is the opposite.  MSU’s NC-SOS currently sits at #209.  The B1G Conference is normally near are at the top of the ladder in terms of measuring conference strength.  This year it is at the bottom.

Ironically using the sub-committee Quadrant System method, Michigan State, Purdue, Michigan and Ohio State would all be seeded #4 or better.

Why not getting #1 Seed does not matter

As TUS Members we know full that while getting the #1 Seed is extremely helpful historically, it does not determine MSU’s Final Four appearance fate.

Under the direction of Tom Izzo MSU has played in the Final Four seven times with Seedings as follows: #1 (3 times), #2 (1 time), #5 (2 times), and #7 (1 time).  So while a #1 Seed looks to be very helpful it is not critical.  MSU has been seeded #1 four times under Izzo and gone to the Final Four three times. So if MSU does receive a #1 Seeding and history matters; start packing for San Antonio.

What really matters

MSU & TUS focusing on the BTT and getting some physical and mental rest.

Thoughts?

Read the rest of this entry »

2017-2018 Men’s Basketball B1G Regular Season Champions – By The Numbers
Feb 25th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

The 2017-2018 Spartans of Michigan State University Men’s Basketball team claimed the B1G Regular Season title today by beating the Badgers of Wisconsin in Madison (WI) 68-65.

With the victory, this edition of the Spartans compile the best single-regular season record in the illustrious history of the program at 28-3 (16-2 BIG).  It is the 8th B1G Regular Season Championship (3rd outright) under the direction of Head Coach Tom Izzo.

The Spartans head to the City of New York in the State of New York to play in the B1G Tournament in Madison Square Garden.  The Spartans get a double-bye.  Their first game will be at Noon ET on Friday March 2nd against the winner of the #8 vs. #9 Seed game on Thursday.

I decided not to wait for the various statistics services. So I had The TUS Statistics Department put together the numbers from the entire regular season.  Average per game – played or not (31), Average per 40 minutes, and Season Total.

Name three things that come to mind about this team (statistics related or not).

 

A Shot of (@)Whiskey
Feb 25th, 2018 by USMC Retired

Questions surrounded MSU rhis week.

Izzo denied wrong-doing by anyone.

Some suggested Miles Bridges should not even play.

 

Spartans take on the Madison Dolly’s today at 1300 before CBS switches to PGA Golf (and Tiger’s 4th round of competitive golf in almost 4 years). The game is being played inside a place located on the frozen tundra, though south of Green Bay, Wisconsin.  It should be a raucous crowd urging their heroes on in the last game of the season as they have now won a trifecta. As the post season opportunities will be limited to the BTT this year, the home crowd will be primed for an upset of the #1/#2 Spartans.

Points to ponder:

Whiskey has not had a very stellar season (middling to say the best @14-16, although they are on the aforementioned 3 game winning streak ) with their only claim to fame being the recent defeat of PU in the Chickens recent 3 game slide. In that game the Whiskey center Ethan Happ outplayed the fleet footed Chicken center (unlike the Spartans, in the previous game who chose NOT to double team Haas, but defend the 3) Containing Happ is a must to garner the win in Madison. As alluded earlier, Whiskey played Minnie-Haha on Monday and won, then traveled to the rock concert home of the MildCats on Tuesday and won. In those games their cast of characters didn’t change with Happ averaging in double figures in scoring, while not rebounding near as well as he ought.  Other starters had 1 of 2 good games . Former Spartan Travis Trice’s younger brother D’Mitrik (W#0) played for Whiskey a good bit, but did not see the floor in the last 2 games.

Folks to watch from Whiskey team include Happ (W#22) Davison (W#21) and Iverson (W#1): the 1st 2 for scoring and #22 does get 8 rebounds in BT play and the latter for his rebounding assistance to #22, he gets almost 8 himself. Spartans won comfortably at home, but as noted above this game is across the Big Lake and we all know what foibles can transpire in enemy territory (if not…..)

From Kindle, but I wholeheartedly agree, the pics are also from him

We are aware the Spartans will at least share the Big Ten Title, which now gives Tom Izzo eight of them. EIGHT. The eight conference titles has moved Izzo into a tie with Walter Meanwell (Wisconsin) for the third most in conference history, trailing only Bob Knight and Ward Lambert, who had 11 each.

But, the bigger story in this frantic news weekend became the breathless coverage of the college basketball scandal as it supposedly touches/touched Michigan State with expense account entries of a less than stellar character named Christian Dawkins.

In the past three threads much has been cited and written about in the posts and comments by TUS members.   There’s not much to add here today soooo,

We can leave it there, for now, with this:

MSU took more than 24 hours to come to a decision on Bridges, but after vetting Bridges’ case with the NCAA, both entities  deemed his situation above board and not at risk for potential retribution from the NCAA.

The NCAA has cleared Miles Bridges to play on Sunday after an internal investigation by Michigan State’s compliance committee. That’s great news for the Spartans who are facing off against a team that has won three straight and 4-of-5.

On to the game preview——–

Could this season’s off-court distractions be any more deafening for the young Spartans? Probably not, but the team has handled them extremely well, IMHO, while winning 11 straight games. Wisconsin might be hot all of a sudden, but the Spartans won’t be nervous heading into yet another hostile environment. Sure, the the game could even be close for a majority of the first 25-30 minutes, but I think we can safely expect Michigan State to pull away, possibly waaay away before it is over.  I think MSU will be inspired by all of this flack rather than dispirited.  I’m thinking a chip-on-the-shoulder kind of game to bid adios to an amazing and weird season.

Nick Ward and Jaren Jackson combined for nine blocks against Ethan Happ in the previous meeting and the Spartans appear to have the Badgers over-matched at every position—still, we have to admit that this is the type of game that defines a season for teams. Will MSU play at its best, which I expect, or will it let a Badger team that they should beat, hang around and sneak out a win? In a season with plenty of MSU distractions and earlier turnover woes, each team has been playing great basketball as of late and true freshman Brad Davison has grown into the role of point guard while running the team very well lately.  I expect some Tum Tum defense on Davison.

Conclusion:

It will be a close game, maybe for awhile, but the Spartans prevail and ALL will continue to be RIGHT with the world as the Spartans EARN the top Seed in the BTT in The Cesspool that is NYC.

Humbly submitted for your perusal this 25th day of February in the Year of Our Lord 2018.

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

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Post Script/NorthForkRancher (who is holding a note card that reads, “I hear you.”)

TV Crew: Kevin Harlan & Bill Raftery on the call. “Onions!”  “Big Fella!”

3: Michigan State has won three-straight in the series—but,  the Badgers have taken the last three meetings between the two schools at Kohl Center, where they may be raffling off Bo Ryan face masks and a crock pot or two prior to the game….no pressure cookers though.

So What Now Buttercup?
Feb 23rd, 2018 by USMC Retired

#22 and I3T may be part of the FBI probe

 

Story is here

https://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/michigan-state/spartans/2018/02/23/michigan-state-basketball-miles-bridges-fbi-probe-investigation/366336002/

The End is near
Feb 18th, 2018 by USMC Retired

Our foe on Sunday had 3 other games this week.  Whiskey  beat Minnie at home and then won @NW on Thursday before our CBS game @1300R Sunday

 

 

Don’t Worry Be Happy
Feb 11th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Here’s a little draft ranking the NCAA Selection Committee wrote
You might be perplexed and want to see the notes
Don’t worry, be happy
In every tournament we have some seeding trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy
Don’t worry, be happy now
don’t worry
(Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) be happy
(Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) don’t worry, be happy
Ain’t got the region and seeding you had in your head
Duke and Kansas came in and bought it instead
Don’t worry, be happy
Teddy The Butt say your shot is late
Send him to the scorers table time to litigate
Don’t worry, be happy
Stuck in a grinder of a match – so what is new
Remember when it’s March – you got Izzo and the men of MSU playing for you
Don’t worry, be happy

Read the rest of this entry »

What it’s all about (Alfie)
Feb 10th, 2018 by USMC Retired

Spartans are at home against Purdue University(Chickens) today @ 1600 on esPn. The only announcer I recognized is Duckie V ( who will countermand DD’s accretion that the CGSL (Call Girl Serving Louisville) vs Jelly  is a better rivalry than the Duck vs Macadam Stilettos). Duckie V will also go on and on about how much he admires I3T. The former is not relevant (but is in his contract), while the later is expected.

Points to ponder:

Anybody of less intellectual acumen than Dan Dakich (DD) who said that Nick Ward would have his way with the fleet footed (sarcasm) Isaac Haas would be laughed off the TUS site, but he said it Wed night.

I3T and let’s hope his players remember that it was Painter who turned the Spartans and I3T into the NC$$ for that minor violation a few years back.

The game is at the Breslin where the Spartans USUALLY play up to their potential.

As of this typing, I have no idea who the other three participants in this athletic event will be, but I, like you, KNOW one WILL BE Teddy the Butt.

Spartans scored 96 points in their last Big Ten game (doubling their 1st half output (24) of each of the previous two games (48). Unhappily, they also gave up more points in that first half and game than in almost every other Big Ten game in the I3T era. (when you win an NC you get to have an ERA) The 96 scored points has been topped before, most importantly when the 2000 team put 114 on Paris Hilton. But, as I posted they are now 17-0 this season when scoring >80 points

On America soil, the Chickens were undefeated (losing to Acorns Wed. nite) – their only 2 losses coming in the ‘Battle for some sunken city’. Those 2 losses – Rocky Top and West Jelly – gave me the impression at the time that the team missed the I3T rejecting Kaleb as expected. They have gotten used to it.

Both teams are loaded with finalists for various post season awards with Haas and J3 just being named to the list of 10 for the Kareem Best Center Award

Finally, when asked who game the day off to on Friday, I3T responded;

““Everybody — I kicked even my staff out of there late afternoon. I didn’t want anybody working nights,” Izzo said Thursday. “I think everybody needed to get refreshed a little bit. It was a brutal 12 days.””

His players certainly appreciated it.

“Coach told us to stay away,” Bridges said. “He knows how much rest we need. And that was good for us.”

 What to know about the Chickens

Haas, of course takes up space and pushes folks around. He played limited minutes in the 1st meeting last year, but in the 2nd he scored 18; he didn’t start either game.  He will have to deal with Skippy AND J3, this year.

The Edwards boys (C & V) have lead PU in scoring, assists, and rebounds in just about ever game this season. One is a 6-1 guard and the other a 6-8 forward. Both have been named to the Wooden Award final list.

STATS     PU     Opp

Scoring   78.8   65.4

FG%       49%    42%

Caroms   32       31

Assists      17      12

Steals       5.5     5.2

Blocks     4.5      2.5

F/T’s        75%   71% (but this is a meaningless number, IMHO)

They have waylaid, in their climb to second in the regular season heap: Az, Butler, and Paris (twice) All of those games were within 10 points, with the Paris wins by 1 away and 4 at home.

The proved last night that they are imminently beatable and couldn’t cover the Acorn who BEAT the Spartans either. The revenge tactic seems to me to be less effective in Basketball (coming back from a lose) because initially you are too pumped and your touch is off – GoB????

In the Wednesday loss, the team stats are almost identical. The noteworthy difference is that the Chicken Starters play 85% of the minutes. Acorns could have made it less close if they had at least shot the F/T % that PU gives up (62 vs the 71 listed above.)

And GOB has given this insightful opinion:

“V Edwards and Mathias are known quantities. Their improvement is founded on Haas development and the addition of Carsen Edwards. Weakness is bad rebounding. They didn’t get their first offensive rebound until under 8 min left. All in all looking at the talent comparison and matchups we should have the edge even though Haas and the Edwards guys will be difficult to defend. Same was true in just about every game but look what happened with the Acorns and Scum.”

The Players and Coach talk about the Chickens

 

Conclusion:

It will be a close game, but the Spartans prevail and all will again be RIGHT with the world.

SportsLine has it 77-70 Spartans (they weren’t good with the IU score)

Humbly submitted for your perusal this 10th day of February in the Year of Our Lord 2018.

SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa
© Copyright, The Usual Suspects - All rights reserved.