...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
|WHAT||Michigan v. Michigan State|
|WHERE||Crisler Arena (Maize Out)|
2:00 PM EST
March 5th, 2011
|THE LINE||Michigan -2.5|
|TELEVISION||CBS (Coverage Map)|
This is The Most Important Game Of The Season. No qualifiers necessary. Michigan could be 1-29 - still with a win in Breslin, of course - and this would be The Most Important Game Of The Season still. The fact that tomorrow's winner is likely to make the NCAA Tournament while the loser is likely NIT-bound barring a strong run in Indianapolis... well, I don't have to explain the stakes to you.
I've started this post a hundred times, and frantically erased a couple paragraphs that just didn't seem adequate for the situation. I'm no college basketball fanatic, but this game just feels... bigger. I'm struck with writer's block at the enormity of the moment, much like Brian must have when he started writing Eleven Swans. Nothing I can come up with will seem right.
Beat the Spartans. Sweep the Spartans.
If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy.
|Michigan v. Michigan State: National Ranks|
|Category||Michigan Rank||State Rank||Advantage|
|Mich eFG% v. MSU Def eFG%||47||122||M|
|Mich Def eFG% v. MSU eFG%||170||161||-|
|Mich TO% v. MSU Def TO%||16||255||MMM|
|Mich Def TO% v. MSU TO%||253||194||S|
|Mich OReb% v. MSU DReb%||324||62||SSS|
|Mich DReb% v. MSU OReb%||54||69||M|
|Mich FTR v. MSU Opp FTR||342||144||SS|
|Mich Opp FTR v. MSU FTR||35||213||MM|
|Mich AdjO v. MSU AdjD||54||37||S|
|Mich AdjD v. MSU AdjO||54||71||M|
Difference of more than 10 places in the national rankings get a 1-letter advantage, more than 100 gets a 2-letter advantage, more than 200 gets a 3-letter advantage, etc.
This is a pretty even statistical matchup (and was probably tilted in Michigan's favor prior to the Spartans' beatdown of Iowa). You know the characters: Kalin Lucas is putting the team on his back, Durrell Summers is a huge disappointment, Korie Lucious will next hit the court for Iowa State, not MSU.
On the other side of the court, Michigan has been steadily improving since the victory in the Breslin Center, particularly on defense. Tim Hardaway has emerged into a star. Darius Morris is (ugh) the Butterfly. Jordan Morgan is holding his own in the post as a redshirt freshman.
With both teams' post-season hopes hanging in the balance, this should be one of the games of the year. And CBS thinks most of the country would rather see a routine beatdown of a terrible Oregon team! CBS is the anti-Sheen #notwinning.
Game preview from The Only Colors, and they also break down Big Ten defensive efficiency by each of the Four Factors. David Merritt talks shop with UMHoops. Friday links from UMHoops, including a couple other game previews. UPDATE: Dylan's preview is up.
Since there's a meager slate of games tonight, no dedicated post. You want Harvard to win and Princeton to lose in the Ivy League, so the Crimson can make the Tournament (and stay in the RPI top-50). Both games are at 7.
In the Horizon League, you probably want to cheer against Cleveland State to make the field a little easier for Butler. They'll likely get an at-large, so you don't want the league's auto-bid to go to anyone else.
There are tons of relevant games tomorrow, so look for an early-morning bracketology post.
With both teams' tournament lives on the line, I have to sadly side with Tom Izzo, who guaranteed a win Wednesday night (H/T iSportsWeb):
Don't get me wrong, John Beilein is one hell of a coach. But Tom Izzo isn't shabby himself, and he's been doing this a long time at Michigan State. He knows what it takes to get a win, and the NCAA Tournament is the norm in East Lansing. Nothing else is acceptable, and the players and coaches in green all know that.
Durrell Summers will break out of his offensive slump and Kalin Lucas will out-duel Darius Morris at the point guard spot. However, Tim Hardaway and some clutch shooting from the two juniors will keep this a tossup until the very end. Spartans win, 65-64.
Go Blue. Beat. State.
I've been waiting weeks to see Izzo pull a rabbit out of his carnival hat but that hasn't happened yet. Did the master of motivation use his last trick with last season's team sleep over or will he be able to blend the NCAA bid and rivalry game into a shot in his team's collective ass?
There are a lot of coaches around the country who wouldn't want to face a JB led team that had a week to prepare. I say the Wolverines will be more than ready. Novak, Vogrich, Morgan and Smot will play with a chippy toughness. Morris and Hardaway will be smooth. Stu will be calling Atlantic and Pacific before every shot at a basket that looks as big as the ocean.
Win and advance. Lose and go (stay) home.
March Madness begins right here, right now.
I can see this game going either way. If Michigan gets its typical production out of the "big 3" (Morris, Hardaway and Morgan) and something out of the ordinary out anyone else (Novak, Douglas, Smotrycz, or maybe Vogrich) we'll be fine.
Obviously, we're looking at 40 minutes of time with our fate resting on the performance of 18-19 year olds (in our case anyway). I'm nervous, but can see a path to victory.
accomplished over the last few years, they have been one of the top programs of the past decade, but I can't see how they are going to turn on the 'Champions' switch that has been mostly off all year. Our guys have raised their game to a new level; they aren't the same team that began the year by a long shot. I'm still not going to say we are better than they are, as a program, but I see us pulling it out tomorrow and putting Michigan basketball back on the map.
program. I totally agree. I think we're having a better season from where we started than MSU is from where it started though. Why can't MSU fan realize the program/team distinction during football season?
I feel confident b/c we have John Beilein. I'll take him over Izzo any day. Especially tomorrow.
After Tim's rock solid Minnesota prediction (missed by a total of 2 points?, I think), I don't want to question his meaningless prediction abilities. But, come on man, NO WAY Sparty wins at Crisler!
with a Michigan site predicting a loss when so many believe it could be a very close game. Yeah Izzo, experience, all that business. Michigan is very well coached, has proven capable of beating them- in Lansing- and UM seems to be grooving better in games over the course of the season. Michigan at home and you call it for MSU?? What an unexpected buzz killer that was for a minute. I predict Wolverines take this game. Go Blue
“This team had high expectations and they have been a disappointment,” Izzo said.
“I think that was the worst performance by a team that I coached since I’ve been at Michigan State,” he said.
“As you can imagine, we’re reeling,” Izzo said. “And just very disappointed in our leadership, and our upperclassmen have not taken the bull by the horns.”
* * *
Izzo said Mark Hollis has made two major moves since becoming athletic director, in establishing affiliations with WJR radio and Nike.
The logo change, in conjunction with Nike’s research, is “a brilliant move,” Izzo said.
“I’m hearing about all this tradition on our logos,” Izzo said. “Since I’ve been here, we had that Sparty head, remember that one gristly look, with the whiskers? We had that on shirts. Then we had a helmet. Every football coach, we had an ‘S,’ and a helmet, and an ‘S,’ and a helmet.
“I think we didn’t have an identity. And here we have a guy (Hollis) who has enough courage, and a good enough relationship with Nike, that they made us one of four or five schools that they researched all the way back to Greece, to determine what would be great. I’m dead serious about this.”
we respect Izzo in this place more than our own coach. Understandably, I guess. We respect results. But yeah, give M the 1 point edge.
1. Fuck State.
2. Drive the lane. Green and Roe are both hobbled. They'll get in foul trouble if we force the issue.
3. (sorry, I know I said "2") Fuck State.
I bet Izzo also wanted the 20 point blowouts in the season.
IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT IZZO WANTS!!! OR SAYS!!! OR PROMISES!!!
If he's on the court, Spartoons by a bucket. If he's working another game, we'll win by at least 8.
I couldn't help to think...you echo my sentiments. Gosh,I hope anti-Michigan Ed doesn't work this highly important game.