Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Defensive Score Sheet: MSU vs. Kentucky

In short, there was so much NBA talent on the United Center floor Tuesday night that most people were more enamored with the fabulous freshmen and their offensive exploits. Likely lost in the shuffle was the defense that - while it might not have looked like it - made some of the offensive highlights that much more impressive.

I charted both Michigan State and Kentucky's defense, possession by possession. If things play out like many experts believe, it might not be the last time I chart a game between these two superpowers.

Here's the defensive score sheet for the game with a brief explanation at the bottom of this post:

Friday, November 8, 2013

2013-14 NCAA Basketball Preview: Expect the Spartans to cut down the nets

The talk for most of the 2013-14 college basketball season will be about the next wave of fabulous freshmen and how the new "freedom of movement" rules are affecting play. What will go overlooked to a degree is the success of a team like Michigan State. With grizzled veterans and a Hall of Fame coach looking for title No. 2, the Spartans won't care about being a story in November; they'll enjoy being the center of attention in early April.

Tom Izzo has a great shot to lead Michigan State to another title,
its first since 2000. Will he do it? Deuce2Sports says, "Yes!" (AP)

1. Michigan State If there is every a year Tom Izzo will get his second title, this is it. The awe and wonder of the fabulous freshmen scattered throughout the nation will get most of the attention but this upperclassmen-laden team with anywhere from 3-5 NBA prospects has all the tools to win the title. Despite losing it's big post force in Derrick Nix the Spartans return everything else, led by experience and the goal of winning the national championship - not just making the Final Four - for the first time since the early 2000s.

2. Kansas
Outside of a few blips in NCAA Tournament shockers the Jayhawks are always peaking in March. I actually think Bill Self, not Coach K or anyone else, is the best coach in college basketball. Self gets talent, but nowhere near as much as Duke or UNC bring in but Self develops players and his teams always get better. Landing Andrew Wiggins, the "next LeBron" will be huge but it'll be Kansas' other parts that have the Jayhawks on the brink of another national title.

3. Louisville
The defending national champions will be in the mix again. I was very skeptical of Louisville entering last season but this group reminds me of three-year dynasties such as Kentucky from 1996-98 and Michigan State from 1999-2001. The team continues to reload, always improving while adding new parts. Russ Smith's decision to return, while a shocker, will be nothing but positive for the Cardinals. I don't think the Cardinals can match last year's success (it would take a national title) but another Final Four seems more than likely.

4. Ohio State

This last Final Four spot is really a coin flip between Ohio State and Oklahoma State. Thad Matta continues to be one of the most underrated coaches in America and it might surprise people but this team will actually be better without DeShaun Thomas. While Thomas was a prolific scorer it became the DT show way too often in Columbus the past few years. With no "go-to" guy it means the Buckeyes will have a team full of weapons. And believe me when I say all of them are very dangerous.