Friday, January 24, 2014

Michigan State vs. Michigan - Because Adreian Payne is dealing with something much more serious than a sprained foot

The first Michigan State - Michigan basketball game of the 2013-2014 season is upon us, but unfortunately we will not be treated to a much hyped Adreian Payne vs. Mitch McGary match-up in the post with ESPN in town for College Gameday.

Sparty taking it to Jalen Rose in an arm wrestling match.

And while Michigan State officially lists Payne as doubtful for the game with a "sprained foot," let's get one thing straight. Adreian Payne is dealing with something much more serious than a sprained foot.

Adreian Payne vs. Mich McGary: I think we already know how this would have ended.

Last week Tom Izzo made a curious slip while discussing Payne's condition and most recent x-rays with the media, saying,
"They’re encouraged by the bone growth and he could start shooting this week, maybe even tomorrow."
I don't know how the media didn't pick up on this, but if you are looking at "bone growth," you're not dealing with a sprain, which medically involves a partially torn ligament. 

If you are looking at x-rays for "bone growth," Payne is obviously dealing with something more serious than a strain.

More than likely, he has a stress fracture, which makes Izzo's comments about not jeopardizing Payne's future and his comparisons to playing without Mateen Cleaves (who also had a stress fracture in his foot) back in 2000 that much more enlightening.

Make no mistake about it, Payne's absence is huge for Michigan State, and that was even before Brandon Dawson came down with a case of trailer park knuckles.

Michigan fans will scream the same about having lost McGary for the season, and while they won't want to hear this, they're a better team without him.

Save for a string of games in last season's NCAA Tournament, McGary has never lived up to his hype.

He has no real back to the basket game, he has no outside shot, and he's a poor free throw shooter.

Sure the kid can rebound like a Mongoloid and fill the lane reasonably well for a big man on the break, but he just doesn't fit into what Michigan is doing on offense, at least not as a featured player.

Mitch McGary: Sure you have to explain to him the difference between a basketball and an opposing player, but you just can't teach "retard super strength."

Michigan's present and future this season is through Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert on the perimeter, with Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford doing the blue collar work on the inside and tipping rebounds back out to their perimeter shooters.

And with Michigan State's two best post players absent for this game, Michigan will have a huge advantage with Morgan and Horford down low.

Where the Spartans will have an advantage, and I can't believe I'm actually writing this, is with their perimeter shooting. That advantage will be even more prevalent with their injury replacements.

Kenny Kaminski is a lethal 3-point shooter who figures to benefit the most from Dawson's absence, and he seems dedicated to improving his defense and rebounding this week to go against the overrated Glenn Robinson III.

Kenny Kaminski, a/k/a "KK-47."

In addition to Kaminski, Gary Harris is one of the most feared 3-point shooters in the nation, Travis Trice is one of the most efficient, and even point guard Keith Appling has managed to turn his jump shot from a flat chested 13-year-old girl to something you'd want to date.

If two of these Spartan Dawgs are hitting from outside, I like MSU's chances, especially if Harris can stay out of foul trouble while checking Stauskas. Hell, don't discount Russell Byrd coming in and knocking down a shot or two...Nevermind, I got a little carried away there.

Now if the Spartans don't hit their perimeter shots, they're in trouble. Fortunately, they're at the Breslin Center on ESPN's College Gameday...So I'll take my chances.

Prediction: Michigan State 81 - Michigan 74. 

Hey Wolvy - You Fired!