Adreian Payne’s NBA career finally begins with Timberwolves


The best thing that happened to Adreian Payne, NBA career wise, was getting traded away from the Atlanta Hawks and to the Minnesota Timberwolves. He wasn’t going to get much playing time with the Eastern Conference’s first place team; who have now pretty much solidified the #1 seed in the East.

Payne was drafted 15th overall by Atlanta, but never broke into their rotation; hence he was traded to the T’Wolves for a lottery-protected first round pick.

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Big Ten football power rankings: lipstick on a pig edition


During Big Ten football Saturdays like this, how do you spin what happened? How do you put lipstick on these pigs? And even though Northwestern out-gained an AWFUL Western Michigan team by just 126 yards, they’ve still earned the second slot.

You can argue that a different Big Ten football team deserves to be there. But my argument is pretty solid for NU. Also, Illinois gave up 615 yards and lost “at home,” and yet they move UP not down this week.

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Former MSU Spartan Garrick Sherman has huge game for Notre Dame


Notre Dame recruited Garrick Sherman coming out of high school. But the 6-10, 240 pound center choose Michigan State instead. But the Irish have him in 2012-13, and he had a huge night in ND’s 5 OT victory over Louisville, a game everyone will remember. The Shermanator is the first player to transfer to Notre Dame since June ’08 when Mike Brey welcomed 2011 Big East Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough from Mississippi State and current Irish senior forward Scott Martin from Purdue.

Sherman didn’t even play until overtime tonight, but he made the most of his minutes, getting 17 points on 7-9 shooting and 6 rebounds.

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Michigan State has many non-conference wins, but most with struggles

tom izzo michigan state

There’s no question that the teams of Tom Izzo are much better in March -when it counts- then November/December. But nothing has come easy for this Spartans team. It seems like every time they play inferior competition they struggle with them. They still win, but play way down to their level.

They did it again versus Texas, trailing in the second half. Yes, the Longhorns just knocked off a #23 ranked North Carolina team, but the Tar Heels are overrated. And UT has lost to Chaminade, USC, Georgetown and USC. State won of course, but the ‘Horns were down by just two down the stretch.

MSU’s struggles started with the upset to an inferior UConn team in Germany. They only beat Boise St. by four, not pulling away from Oakland until the closing minutes, beating Lousiana-Lafayette by just three, losing to unranked Miami team, they also trailed late in the second half to Loyola and Bowling Green. They’re just not dominating teams nor closing them out. By far, the highlight of the non-conference slate was the win over now #9 Kansas.

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#16 Michigan State Spartans: college basketball 111 in 111

Welcome to the 111 in 111, guest posting edition. This year’s Michigan State Spartans are in a sort of re-loading mode, as they have to adjust to the loss of one of the greatest Spartans in history, Draymond Green. But there’s a lot of talent in East Lansing, as usual. The starting five will feature 2 McDonald’s All-Americans, and this unit will have more athleticism and perhaps more talent than last year’s group. But will they gel, and who will lead them?
They should be able to get along well; unlike the State team of two years ago. And of course, they’re coached by Tom Izzo, which means they’ll play really tough defense and rebound. But what kind of tempo will they play?

Michigan State: toughest team wins nation’s toughest conference

msu dance team

It’s the league with the nation’s best RPI and SoS; therefore the Big Ten is the nation’s “toughest conference.” And therefore the team which look the league title is toughest of the tough. “Built Ford Tough” like they say in nearby Detroit. The #5 Michigan State Spartans lost a chance to win the outright Big Ten title on a jumper by Ohio State’s Will Buford with 0.8 seconds left. But they still tied for the league crown with the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines. Something is better than nothing.

Michigan State clinched a share of its 14th regular-season Big Ten Championship, and the seventh under head coach Tom Izzo. Since MSU entered the league in 1951, only Indiana has won more titles (17), while Ohio State has also won 13. Tom Izzo is one of just five coaches in history with seven or more Big Ten titles. Just Indiana’s Bob Knight (11), Purdue’s Ward Lambert (11), Ohio State’s Fred Taylor (9) and Wisconsin’s Walter Meanwell (8) have won more.

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Northwestern still needs three wins to make NCAA Tournament


In our latest NCAA Tournament bracket projection, we have Northwestern as a #12 seed, one of the last four teams in. Of course, this isn’t a place you want to stay right now as Selection Sunday approaches.

Even though this is a supposedly “weak bubble,” bracket projections don’t and can’t factor in the “bid-stealing” that will occur next week when small conference favorites lose in their in their league tournaments. How many of these “one-bid league” upsets will we have? Who knows, but you need to get above that last #12 seed line to be safe, and the ‘Cats need to beat the Iowa Hawkeyes in Iowa City and then pick up two more wins in Indy.

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Just how shaky is Illini coach Bruce Weber’s Job Security?

bruce weber-upset

The Assembly Hall crowd in Champaign called for Bruce Weber’s head. Illini fans in B Section screamed “pack your bags” and “I can draw up a better offense.” This has gone on for years, except this time there was one major difference- No one in the orange and blue crowd stuck up for Bruce.

And this happened during one of this year’s signature wins, a victory over a top ten Michigan State team. Illini Nation seems to be totally fed up with Weber. He’s about as well liked as point guard Sam Maniscalco, who acts like a black hole in the offense. His field goal and three-point percentages are so low that on those rare occasions he hits a shot, it seems like a miracle has occurred.

Down at courtside on this night you could hear Weber screaming “MOVE MOVE MOVE!” Because there’s just no motion in his motion offense; a system that has produced only a .500 record in conference since the Champaign Campaign national runner-up year of 2005.  And Mansicalco is a big example of what’s wrong with Weber’s decision making: giving more playing time to grindy, hustle players instead of the talented ones.

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Spartans’ Leading Scorer/Rebounder Draymond Green Leaves Game With Serious Leg Injury

draymond green nba draft

The Big Ten’s leading rebounder, and best player on the nation’s 9th ranked team may be out for awhile. Michigan State forward Draymond Green seriously hurt his left leg in tonight’s mild upset loss to the Illini, and left the game with 3:50 left, unable to walk on his own power.

Green was down on the Assembly Hall floor in Champaign for quite awhile, and after examination was able to hop over on his one good leg to the MSU bench.

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Michigan St.-Illinois Game Just Like Overall Series: Very Tight


Entering tonight’s contest, the Michigan State-Illinois series was tied at 55. The last 13 games in the series have been decided by 10 points or less, and this was no different. And the #9 Michigan State Spartans fell to the Illinois Fighting Illini 42-41.

There was really ugly offense in the first half, by both teams.  A 22-20 score is often the result when one team’s best player shoots 2-8 from the floor, and the other team’s best player sits with foul trouble. D.J. Richardson was pretty much the entire offense for Illinois in the first half, scoring 7 of the team’s 22 points.

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Michigan State Needs to Fix Defensive Lapses to Become Elite


This what #9 Michigan State has given up in scoring in their four losses: 67 to North Carolina, 74 to Duke, 81 to Northwestern, 6o to Michigan.

In their 16 wins, they’ve held everyone under 70 with the exception of Lehigh; a game they won 90-81. The losses to the Wolverines and Tar Heels were much more on the offense than the D, but the pattern is still obvious: when the Spartans play defense like a traditional Tom Izzo team is known to do, they are elite.

They look like an Elite Eight, Final Four team. But when they have those occasional defensive lapses, which have been few and far between, they look like an ordinary team.

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Mich St Fans Get Repulsive; Draymond Tips Ball into Purdue Goal

draymond green tom izzo

Michigan State may have absolutely slaughtered Purdue 83-58 yesterday, but the battle between the two traditional Big Ten powers still had some embarrassing, and down-right dark moments in the lop-sided win.

Spartans leader (in scoring, rebounding and emotion) Draymond Green accidentally stuffed the ball home for Purdue (watch video after the jump). But much worse, the Izzone, the MSU student cheering section went really low and class-less in heckling Boilermakers star Robbie Hummel.

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