Adreian Payne’s NBA career finally begins with Timberwolves

adreian-payne

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

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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 Delvon Roe starred with Aimee Teegarden in film

Aimee Teegarden was quite the rebel against her parents coach Erik Taylor and Tami Taylor in Friday Night Lights. During his MSU career, it looked like Delvon Roe was sometimes going against what coach Tom Izzo had to say on the Spartans bench. If you followed Michigan State Spartans basketball in recent years, you might have noticed a certain Shakespearean acting clip playing over and over during MSU telecasts. Whenever Delvon Roe was mentioned, ESPN/BTN/whoever cut away to a shot of him acting in the bard’s play “As You Like it” at MSU.  In that production, Roe played Charles the Wrestler. In a movie with Aimee Teegarden, he played a former football player named Issac. Maybe Roe and Aimee Teegarden worked well in the IF.

Roe got paid $20,000 for the gig, as he beat out the big Mike actor (Quinton Aaron) from the academy award winning “The Blind Side,” the only other person to audition for the role.

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Michigan State’s Tom Izzo wins humanitarian award

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Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo, an eight-time national Coach of the Year and the longest-tenured Big Ten men’s basketball coach ever, will be honored at the 2013 College Basketball Awards April 15 in Oklahoma City as the recipient of the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award.

Izzo, who has spent nearly two decades as the head coach at Michigan State and has led his team to a national championship and six trips to the Final Four, will be honored the same night as the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year, Henry Iba Coach of the Year, and Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year. The event will be held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City and is presented by Devon Energy and produced by Access Sports, an Oklahoma City based non-profit charitable foundation.

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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

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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 St. Legend, NBA Prospect Draymond Green: exclusive part 2 of 3

Draymond-Green

There’s already been a movement to have Draymond Green‘s number retired at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan. That’s how much he meant to the Michigan State Spartans and Big Ten college basketball. He’s also an NBA draft prospect, potentially in the first round. The Sports Bank’s Ngozi Ekeledo had a very detailed exclusive with Green, discussing his past, present and future.

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Northwestern still needs three wins to make NCAA Tournament

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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?

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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

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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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Northwestern’s Surprisingly Good RPI, Tournament Profile

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RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) is an algorithm based on opponents’ winning percentage, opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage, and opponents’ opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage. This is the truth, I’m not trying to sound like Dr. Seuss here. So RPI is like the BCS, a very controversial number that certains groups of people ascribe meaning to; other groups of people resent.

That fact is, RPI is taken very seriously by the NCAA Tournament selection committee, and from a numerical standpoint, it’s all about “who have you played?” Then there’s the eye-test with RPI, which asks “who have you beaten?”

And these numbers are what gives the Northwestern Wildcats a stronger than you think tourney profile. A 12-5, 2-3 in conference team with two 28+ point losses doesn’t seem like a good candidate to go dancing at first glance. But when you look at their #30 RPI and strength of schedule, the picture completely changes.

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