Michigan State basketball has a knack for playing anyone, anytime, any place. Aircraft carrier? Sure. Air Force Base in Germany? Yep. Scheduling non-conference games against Duke, Kansas, Connecticut, or Kentucky? Why not. How about an asteroid floating around space? Yeah, MSU will probably play someone there too. Tom Izzo used all these games as a chance for his teams to get experience against better teams to use as a base for big games later in the season, however, MSU rarely won.
I like these guys. I like them a lot.
It was different last night. MSU took down #1 Kentucky 78-74 in the Champions Classic in Chicago in what is being described as a program win. I do agree with the sentiment that MSU needed to get one of these big non-conference wins, but I think our program is pretty good. Regardless, it was an impressive showing (especially in the first half) and now the Spartans should have the number one ranking next week.
How fun is it to watch MSU run the ball like they did? I know that Izzo says every year that MSU is going to run, but it seems like that really is the game plan this year. I was concerned that this would cause sloppy play as we’ve seen in the past, but the Spartans finished with just 7 turnovers. With the stingy defense all over the place, Kentucky was forced into giving the ball away 17 times.
I hadn’t had a chance to see much of this team prior to the game yesterday, but I am impressed with this bunch of grizzled veterans. I mean, seniors, juniors, and sophomores who can contribute to a basketball team’s success? Who knew that was possible! If you listened to any of the broadcast yesterday, it didn’t seem like that was an option! And still, the narrative today seems to be that we learned nothing from the game other than Kentucky is young and good and wouldn’t have lost this game come March.
But I’m with Tom Izzo. Everyone is talking about how Kentucky is going to get better. Well guess what? The Spartans will be playing in March too. And I don’t know about you, but I think we’re going to be better too.
On to the Boat!
Good morning, Spartans! Here we are, it’s time for our first real test of the 2013-14 basketball season. It’s about time, am I right? Wait, this is only the second game of the season? Well.
I, like many of the Spartan faithful, haven’t seen a ton of this team yet…but what I have seen is very exciting. Why not test it out now? Let’s see what these guys have. Tonight marks the first 1 v 2 matchup in about six years, but what most people care about is the amount of talent that will be on the floor in both games. Joe Rexrode has a great breakdown of some of the story lines leading into tonight’s game.
Now, I know everyone is taking some time today to feel bad for John Calipari and how unfair it is that he has to take his group of freshman (maybe one of the best classes ever assembled in college basketball) and face the experienced Spartans, but once you dry your tears…how about some HYPE? You know we love a hype video.
Who wants to hit the gym?
One of the most ridiculous games ever…MSU vs Kentucky, NCAA Tournament 2005
And a great wrap up from last year, featuring two of my favorite Izzo hugs of all time.
So there you have it. Tune into ESPN tonight at 7:30 to see our mighty Spartans take on the Wildcats of Kentucky.
WHAT UP! Sports Squared is back! There was a hiatus, but you know…life happens. Now fueled by the football Spartans evisceration of Michigan and the upcoming basketball season hype, we’re back, just in time for the 2013-2014 basketball season’s first BOAT REPORT.
They called it the ship of dreams…and it WAS.
Everyone knows your Michigan State basketball Spartans are coming up on a season full of expectations, hopes and dreams. We all remember how this worked out the last time (RIP 2010-2011 season), but it’s time to shed those fears and embrace the hype. So without further ado, your boat report.
[Also, if you need some refreshing on the ship of dreams…here is in 30 seconds. Like this…except with fewer ice bergs.]
Captain: Keith Appling
Duh. Keith isn’t the most purely athletic player on this team, but Tom Izzo has been working for three years to craft him into a Big Ten point guard. Keith can drive, he can shoot, he’s a good ball handler and most of all, he should be a big part of the leadership on this team. Keith (or as we like to call him, Keef or Keither) often takes the game on his shoulders on the court – hopefully he’s ready to shoulder some of that leadership off the court too. Things to watch for- assist to TO ratio. MSU has said they’re going to push the pace this year (no really), so Keef keeping the TOs to a minimum will bode well for MSU’s success.
While I’m crying into my coffee this morning over Ben Roethlisberger’s shoulder injury, please enjoy these highlights from the MSU/Kansas matchup in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The Spartans came back from a 13-point deficit to defeat the Jayhawks on a three-point play from Kalin Lucas and advance to the Elite Eight. The Spartans would go on to lose to UNC in the final game. The two teams meet tonight in the Champions Classic, their first matchup since that tournament.
I still have such mixed feelings about this team. And Kalin Lucas.
Well, that first game didn’t quite go the way anyone had planned, did it? I’m kind of starting to feel about these military games the way I do about the Maui Invitation — just don’t go. Although, there was strong play from a lot of unexpected players (namely Denzel Valentine). We’re waiting until after the Kansas game to put our of first Boat Report- and hoping Derrick Nix gets his darn turnover issues under control. Tonight’s matchup promises to be a good one, with Tom Izzo and Bill Self squaring off in a coaching battle and both looking to cope with the loss of an All-American player (Draymond Green and Thomas Robinson, respectively).
Sara G. will be at the Georgia Dome tonight(and I understand she has great seats), so make sure to follow us on Twitter @sports_squared for sideline reports. Go Green!