Showing posts with label 2013-14 basketball. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2013-14 basketball. Show all posts

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!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Michigan State vs. Kentucky - Because the Spartans are going to run the Widcats out of the United Center

As the #2 Michigan State Spartans prepare to meet the #1 ranked Kentucky Wildcats in this Tuesday's Champions Classic in Chicago, these two programs couldn't go about their success more differently.
-Tom Izzo takes an "anybody, any place, any time" mentality when it comes to scheduling, even though his teams are notorious slow starters. 

-John Calipari effortlessly recruits a new class of "one and done" players every year, but is complaining about having to face a veteran team like the Spartans this early in the season.

-Tom Izzo backed off of blue chip recruits like Cliff Alexander, James Young and Tyler Ulis when middlemen and other shady elements start to emerge.

-John Calipari embraces shady figures like "World Wide Wes" and ignored red flags on recruits like Marcus Camby, Derrick Rose and Enes Kanter, only to claim ignorance when they were ultimately declared ineligible by the NCAA.
-Tom Izzo utilized a state law in occasionally using state owned planes while on recruiting trips, yet that use resulted in a FAA investigation (that turned out to be completely legal).
-John Calipari once recruited Michigan State power forward Adreian Payne by landing a helicopter on his high school football field, yet nobody even raised an eyebrow.
Hell, even their campuses are polar opposites.

Michigan State tries to sell recruits on one of the most beautiful and lively campuses in the nation, while Kentucky somehow convinces blue chip prospects to come to the horse, chain restaurant, and jean short capital of the world.

And before the Wildcat fans start screaming at me for being a damn Yankee, I know all of these things...I actually live in Lexington, having attended both MSU and UK.

I've sat next to Demarcus Cousins as he got a two hour lap dance at Camelot West.

I've  been touched by Tim Couch's Playboy Playmate wife as she sat next to me at Drake's.

Hell, I've even bought Kenny "Sky" Walker a drink at Camelot East as he gushed about how Kentucky dropped the ball by not pursuing Tom Izzo harder to become their coach when they had the chance (sorry Kenny, UK never had a chance with Izzo).

Ultimately, Tuesday's game means nothing in the grand scheme of this season aside from pride and a potential boost to each school's national reputation.

And while the Spartans certainly aren't lacking in pride, they could use some love when it comes to the national media, who mistakenly thinks that the Spartans are a grind it out half court offensive team.

On the other hand, UK's team is certainly talented, but they're very young, and an early season victory over the #2 ranked team in the country would be a major boost to their egos and give them confidence going forward. 

So how does this game play out?

First off, Michigan State will dispel the perception that they're a slow paced, half court based team. Look for the Spartans to run the young Wildcats out of the United Center on Tuesday.

If the 2013-2014 Kentucky basketball team is nicknamed the "Kiddie Cats," does that make the 2012-2013 Kentucky team the "NITtie Cats?"

Julius Randle has been a beast thus far for Kentucky, but also has not been matched up with the size or athleticism of someone like Michigan State's Adrieon Payne.

Payne is also the key to Michigan State's offense, presenting match-up problems of his own with a pick and pop game that he can also move down low into the post.

This game probably comes down to foul trouble and how the new extra stringent hand-check rules will be enforced, as Payne demonstrated a propensity to get into foul trouble at the Junior Olympics this summer, in which less lenient International Rules were enforced.

In the event that Payne does get in foul trouble, Michigan State does have some bodies to throw at Randle, but not anybody who can match him in terms of athleticism.

Likewise, Kentucky can't afford to lose Randle, as Willie Cauley-Stein is perhaps the most overrated player in all of America. Maybe this guy convinces some crappy NBA team to draft him in the first round, but I doubt he ever plays any meaningful minutes outside of the D-League.

In the back court, Kentucky's heralded "Harrison Twins" seem overrated, particularly Aaron at shooting guard. Meanwhile, Michigan State has potentially the best back court in the nation with Sr. Keith Appling at the point and All-American Gary Harris at shooting guard.

Throw in Michigan State's versatility at the hybrid "three" spot with Denzel Valentine and Brandon Dawson against an underachieving Alex Poythress and super raw James Young, and Michigan State should win this game going away.

Prediction: Michigan State 73 - Kentucky 59