Michigan State Spartans get beat-down at Indiana’s Assembly Hall

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If you still had doubts that the Big Ten was a physical conference, the game at Assembly Hall between the Spartans and Hoosiers silenced any critics.

The problem is, the game also silenced the Spartans, too.

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Spartans stay perfect at home against the Badgers

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This year’s match-ups between MSU and Wisconsin on both the gridiron and the hardwood have been very exciting. During college football season, we had the Hail Mary pass that led to a Spartan victory and the come-from-behind win by Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship, and the basketball rivalry seemed like it would run a similar script–last month’s controversial shot call let the Spartans come away with a win at the Kohl Center. [Read more…]

Michigan State vs. Gonzaga: A Newly Built Basketball Battle

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Spokane, Washington plays host to a game that’s gotten more and more hype over the years, and the battle between Gonzaga and Michigan State in basketball brings a little Midwest swag to the Northwest. [Read more…]

Carrier Classic: ’09 National Championship Rematch Reaches New Heights

For the Michigan State basketball team, the tests that the players take in the classroom are probably a breeze compared to the tests Tom Izzo gives them.

How’s this for a multiple-choice question? To open your season you will:

a)  Face a  #1 ranked UNC squad

b)  Face a top-ten Duke team at Madison Square Garden

c)   Face a Gonzaga team in a game that has packed much more meaning in the past few years on the ‘Zags’ home court.

d)   Face a Florida State team that did maximum damage in the ACC last season

e)   All of the above

If you guessed E, you’re correct and you probably already know that a heavy-hitting schedule for Tom Izzo’s team isn’t even a surprise anymore. It’s expected. The words “cupcake schedule” don’t fly in East Lansing.

But opening on this tough tear may be just the swift kick-start that puts a little hair on the chests of this young remodeled team of Spartans players.

But this year, even Tom Izzo has outdone himself. [Read more…]

Michigan State’s Expectationless 2011-12 Team May Surprise You

Drew Neitzel

When Tom Izzo looks at this current Michigan State Spartans crew, he sees similarities to the 2007- 2008 Drew Neitzel led squad. The coach referenced this at the school’s media day and said that this year’s team is young, gritty but close-knit.

Neitzel’s team, and it was his team no doubt, is like the mold of this year’s squad.

That final four team had lost its trio of superstars—stellar seniors Maurice Ager and Paul Davis and junior Shannon Brown, who now has a few rings with the L.A. Lakers. This year’s team has lost experienced Final Four veterans, and quite frankly, expectations are barely existent.

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Michigan State Guard Keith Appling Finalist for Team USA U19

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Michigan State Spartans sophomore point guard Keith Appling has accepted an invitation from the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee to attend the 2011 USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Championship Team training camp.

The training camp, which will be held June 17-24 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., will be used to select the 12-member team that will represent the USA in international competition at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship.

The USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee, chaired by NCAA representative Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), is expected to announce on June 19 finalists for the 12-member USA U19 World Championship Team roster.

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Turnovers Don’t Fit with Michigan State Point Guard Tradition, Kalin Lucas

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When the Big Ten Network produced a program highlighting the most storied position traditions of excellence in the conference, Michigan State point guards took home the overall slot. All those decades of college basketball and college football and the number one is the men who have manned “the one” in East Lansing. NBA superstars, Team USA and college legends, guys like Scott Skiles, Magic Johnson, Mateen Cleaves, Drew Neitzel, Steve Smith and Eric Snow.

Playing point guard at Michigan State is a position of great power that comes with great responsibility and great scrutiny. Kalin Lucas holds the position now, with top ten freshman recruit and former Michigan Mr. Basketball Keith Appling waiting in the wings.

Appling is now starting and, along with Lucas, bringing the ball up and setting the offense. His move to the starting five gives State two point guards in the lineup; and an upgrade in ball-handling skills.

It’s mandatory because their biggest issue is turnovers.

By Paul M. Banks

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Michigan State Needs Rookie Keith Appling to Grow Up Quickly

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“I’m a lot more comfortable now that I’ve gotten a couple starts under my belt,” Michigan State Spartans point guard Keith Appling said last week following a victory over Northwestern in which he had five blocks.

“He’s going end up like Charlie Bell, one of the best defensive players that we’ve had,” MSU Coach Tom Izzo said.

Appling was inserted into the starting line-up at the beginning of conference play, mostly for his defensive prowess, but also give the Spartans more ball-handling ability in the first five. Given that turnovers have been their number one issue all season long, it makes sense.

By Paul M. Banks

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