Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Here's Your Shield, R.J. Shelton

The Spartans picked up their fourth commitment Sunday from Wisconsin running back R.J. Shelton.  Most of the recruiting sites haven't yet evaluated .  Only 247 has a rating for him -- 3 stars.  It also looks like the Spartan coaches got out ahead of other programs.  MSU was the first B1G program to offer Shelton, shortly thereafter he was noticed and offered by Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.  It appears that Bielema personally called Shelton to try to keep him instate, but MSU's early interest seems to have paid off.

Shelton has good size (5'11" and 185 lbs), and he is listed as running the 40 in 4.5 seconds.  That seems about right; he looks like a 4.5 guy in his video:
The immediate reaction is to see Shelton as the next Edwin Baker, as they move in a similar way.  If you look at this next video of Baker (at the 1:15 mark), you can see that Baker was bigger and more powerful in high school.  He may also have been faster -- according to Scout he ran the 40 in 4.4 seconds. 

Shelton was only a junior in his video, so some physical improvement seems likely. Nonetheless, Shelton already shows some excellent talent and athleticism.  He's another guy who makes you realize that it's too early to panic about recruiting.  After all, how can anyone be upset about taking a running back with competing offers from Iowa and Wisconsin?

Shelton's commitment should wrap up the running back recruiting, between Shelton and Holmes the Spartans have secured a speed/power back combo.  The Spartans now have 5 young guys who could step in for Caper after 2012 or Bell should he leave early for the draft.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Here's Your Shield, Jalyn Powell

The Spartans have picked up their 3rd commitment from Ohio safety,  Jalyn Powell.  Powell attends Warren G. Harding high school, home of former Spartan DB Chris L. Rucker. Once again, it looks like the Spartan coaches have jumped ahead of most of the recruiting services, so the information on Powell is limited, and in some cases conflicting.  Only 247 has a rating for him, and they consider him a 3-star guy.  Otherwise, Scout says that Powell received offers from Michigan, and West Virginia, and that Ohio State is showing interest in him.  All of the other sites, however, list MSU as his only offer.

Powell has great size for a safety (6'1" and 185 lbs.).  If you believe ESPN, which is the only site that has a 40 meter time for him, he seems to be a little slow (at 4.86 seconds).  But folks, you tell me if you believe this guy is slow:
In this video, Powell looks like the best athlete on the field.  There are several moments where he makes everyone else look like they're standing still.  On defense he shows some pretty good instincts and he brings the lumber when he tackles.  I have to say, this is some of the best highlight video I've ever seen.  That makes Powell one of the most exciting prospects I've ever reviewed.

Powell is being recruited as a safety, but to me he looks like a guy that could excel at many other positions, including wide receiver, linebacker, and running back. He fits the mold of a Dantonio safety and will be a great addition to the class of 2013 for the Green and White.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Programming Note beginning 2/23.

Friends, Countrypeople?, Spartans.

The folks at A Beautiful Day For Football need a break and we're going to take it. Six months after the blog sprung to life, we've posted 171 times since August 9th and that's a lot of hours in front of a computer and on twitter. We need to catch up on some other things and come back in a week or two.

Quick Game Previews:

- MSU by a Jordan over Nebraska.
- MSU needs five points to guarantee home ice in the first round of the CCHA playoffs. They get four.(I have no idea what the hell I'm talking about here.)
- Indiana is omitted, because if MSU and Michigan win this weekend, I'll do five questions with Jamie Mac from the Just Cover Blog. Jamie is an Indiana and Michigan Hoops fan. Lots at stake for him next Tuesday.
- MSU over OSU. By 90. Draymond beats Jared Sullinger with his own arm at midcourt before tip-off. Derrick Nix and Adrien Payne actually combine into one person like Voltron and are 12 feet tall with appropriately sized lungs.

When we come back.

MSU has some business to attend to in New Orleans. We want to be ready to knock it out of the park for you guys.

Golden Gopher Recap, the Combine and Junior Day

So, that happened. MSU was due for a brain fart of a game and they had it. They were lucky to escape with a win and that Brandon Wood found his superhero cape just in time. Keith Appling had a rough game, Sophomore is Greek for "wise fool". Draymond "B1G Player of the Year" Green had 17 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals in the win.

In my first eerily accurate basketball prediction, ever. A broken clock is right twice a day, even I guess.
MSU is on a tear right now that could rip small planets in half, but these numbers suggest that Minnesota will not be an easy out. Search your feelings using your best Jedi technique, you know this to be true.
Four Factors

So what kept MSU in the game? Getting and converting lots and lots of free throws, which you knew. Also, MSU's turnover percentage was ridiculously good. Finally,  Minny got all Cameron Fry at the end of the game instead of all Ferris Bueller. Izzo, "The only thing I would give this team credit for is, if you’re in a championship-type run, you’ve got to steal a game somewhere. … I feel very fortunate to win it but proud we found way to win a game we didn’t deserve to.” Truth.

The NFL Combine

The Combine starts today for MSU players. You can follow the athletes live-tweeting the experience of traveling to the combine, BJ Cunningham "Detroit got real life birds flyin around in the airport" and Kirk Cousins, "The Grand Rapids airport has to have one of the slowest security lines in the country for the # of ppl passing through. 20 min wait at 6 AM". Was that a complaint Mr. Cousins? Today is indeed a special day.

The Little Brother Blog has a rundown of who reports when and when their drills will be. Today's arrivals will be Edwin Baker, Kirk Cousins, B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin, but they don't workout until Sunday. Follow John Kreger on twitter for twittable combine updates.

A Word on the Upcoming Junior Day

If you follow recruiting at all, you know UM filled up half their class with top 250 players last weekend. If you're a bit high strung about recruiting, you know that MSU has a junior day coming up this weekend and Mark Dantonio will not be present for it.

Here's my take. At the beginning of every Roland Emmerich movie(The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, Independence Day), some small and insignificant event happens that foreshadows the impending Ice Storm of Doom. Brady Hoke got a huge jump on closing out his class of 2013, which is not a huge deal, but this gives him more time to work on the class of 2014, etc. Dantonio will be in LA this weekend, doing something for the Nike Coaches tour, whatever the hell that is. So not only will MSU not have a committ-a-palooza with the overpriced food, water and beer like Hoke had, they likely will not have a single commit. MSU rarely takes commits when Dantonio isn't around. It's a long haul from here to Signing Day and MSU will get theirs, but, if MSU recruiting starts to get snuffed out by UM and OSU in the coming years, people will point to things like this as a reason why.

Bonus Bits

Additional postgame dissection from Green Thoughts, The Only Colors and Hey, Joe! The Munn Minute has a post on how nice ND's new arena is.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Game Preview: Michigan State vs the Golden Gophers

The Tubby Smith School of Puppy Obidience

When: Tonight, 8:30pm
Where: The Barn, Minneapolis
Channel: Big Ten Network / 94.9 FM

Michigan State 22-5(11-3) takes on Minnesota 17-10(5-9) at the Barn. For MSU, a win gets them one step closer to an outright Big Ten title. For Minnesota, a win is necessary to keep their tournament hopes alive.

For Tubby Smith, a win might be necessary to keep his 2012-2013 employment hopes alive, this is the school that fired Glen Mason after all. Although with that mean look he has, he would be a puppy trainer for the ages.

Four Factors in Conference

Uh-Oh. MSU is on a tear right now that could rip small planets in half, but these numbers suggest that Minnesota will not be an easy out. Search your feelings using your best Jedi technique, you know this to be true. Minnesota is deep, 41.2% of their total minutes come off the bench, good for 11th nationally.

MSU is a smidge better at the four factors on offense, but where they really dominate the Gophers is on defense. MSU is holding their opponents to a stingy 41.9 percent eFG% while the Gophers are giving up 47.9 percent. MSU is holding their opponents to 28.1% Offensive Rebounding while the Gophers are allowing 33.2% Offensive Rebounding.

How To Achieve World Domination
  •  The Purdue/OSU Blueprint Won't Work Here - MSU can't just tire out the Gophers and get away with sloppy execution. Minnesota is Diet MSU, but similar enough in build and depth that simply running them out of the gym will not be enough to win the game.
  •  The Above is Not Completely True - Minnesota is thin in the frontcourt. Ralph Sampson and Elliott Eliason are the only players seeing significant minutes that are over 6'8". Eliason's stats show that he is basically a placeholder, Sampson is much better. A well utilized Derrick Payne will command the low post tonight.POUND GREEN POUND.
  • Which of course means - Minnesota is going to try and play small ball. So the keys there, keep Appling out of foul trouble, set up Draymond as the mismatch and rotate the guards often since that's what Tubby will be doing to MSU.
  •  Austin Thornton, Keep Doing That Voodoo That You Do So Well - Austin Thornton is currently has an Offensive Rating of 128.2, but obviously doesn't play TONS of minutes. It means when he is in the game he is ruthlessly efficient on offense. Keep being ruthlessly efficient on Offense, Austin Thornton.
Prediction of Ho-Hum Accuracy: MSU by 6. MSU looks unstoppable right now and this isn't a Brain Farty team, but, this game smacks of a Brain Fart loss in the making. Also the Law Of Gus.

Bonus Bits

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Film Review Outback Bowl: 4 Offensive Questions

This is part two of our Outback Bowl Film Review. You can read part one of our review here and Heck's fantastic film review over on The Only Colors.

1.) Senator Cousins threw seven picks in thirteen games and three from the start of the fourth quarter in the Outback Bowl. What happened?

Well, the obvious suggestion would be that he was pressing, although he threw the first pick down only 16-14 with 11:21 left in the game. The way MSU's season went most games were only half over at this point.

Cousins Pick 1

MSU lines up in the shotgun and Georgia lines up in their 3-4 and shows blitz from the defense left or a slightly delayed blitz from defense right. The blitz ends up coming from the area in yellow. This is probably as good a job as Georgia did masking the blitz all day.
The play snaps and the defense right starts dropping back into coverage while two blockers on the left come completely unblocked. Obviously, Cousins is all "Oh Balls!". The left side of MSU's offensive line was expecting the blitz to come from the defense right and so they're left with no one to block.
Bell can't block both defenders, I mean he probably could if he was all hulked out and pissed like he is in the first quarter. Seriously, he can't block both guys. Foreman isn't blocking anyone, but doesn't look around to see if the blitz is coming from the other side.
Bell picks his poison, but ultimately he was just trying to make Cousins feel better about the fact that he had less than two seconds to get rid of this ball. Cousins is about to get smeared by number 19.
He throws the ball to what looks like a B.J. Cunningham who is in single coverage and has gotten himself some separation.
But the safety makes a great play and jumps the route and runs the other way with the ball. Which sucks.

Cousins Pick 2

MSU lines up in a Two Tight End I formation. Georgia has got nine in the box. MANBALL is about to ensue. right? RIGHT?
Wrong. The play snaps in some "Oh sir, you've bested me with your trickeration" fashion, Linthicum and Sims take off on verticals downfield. Cunningham runs a wheel route past the sticks.
Both Tight Ends are deep into the secondary and it looks like here comes another catch on Linthicum's already amazing 115 yard day.
I means seriously, Linthicum is stupid open. Except Alec Ogletree does his best Woodson imitation and leaps up in the air to tip a ball that he really had no business getting to.
He tips it down and it's a Fat Guy Interception. I'd try to screencap it, but the glory of a Fat Guy Interception is not meant to be beheld by viewing instrument less ornate than that of the simple human eye.

 Cousins Pick 3
MSU is in it's 5 WR package and Georgia lines up in a 3-4 Over. The blitz comes from defense right this time. The corner actually gets sent on a corner blitz, but because he's a few yards off the line of scrimmage it comes as an unblocked but slightly delayed blitz.
The play snaps and he begins his attack.
He's still coming while his friends are trying to kill Kirk. Note, if Keshawn Martin, WR at the top-right of the screen cuts his route short there's a good chance this isn't a pick.  Number 9(also top-right) is in man coverage on Cunningham. He still would have been short of the sticks but would have had a great chance to make a play.
Bell is open out in the flat but Cousins heard all of you guys screaming at him in the first half and knows that he should not throw short of the sticks.

Nichol is open way downfield, but Cousins got pressured into a bad throw and throws to his most reliable target, Cunningham.

2.) Nichol touchdown.

MSU lines up in a 5 WR shotgun set. Georgia lines up in it's 3-4. Georgia is guarding the endzone fiercely as evidenced by the three deep safeties right on the goal line.
The play snaps and Georgia brings four, the remaining four that are up on the line pick a man and drop into coverage.
The red represents the actual routes run by the Wide Receivers. In a moment you'll see this was obviously a designed clearout for Nichol from the outset.
Here the yellow routes are what MSU ran and the red routes are what the respective routes by Georgia defense was. The concern that Keshawn Martin caused for the Georgia D is what allowed Nichol to get open. Martin ran right at the deep middle safety and dragged both the safety and his linebacker into double coverage. Cunningham who ran the quick out, had the job of taking his guy out of the play, which left Nichol in single coverage in the endzone. Nichol can outmuscle a safety because even his muscles have muscles.

3.) Safety Play

Keshawn Martin has the red line over him. He is about to be safetied for safety's sake.
The blitz is coming from the area in yellow. That is a lot of blitzing. Sugar jets!
The play snaps and Cunningham starts on his route. The red route was the route he ran, the yellow route would have probably prevented a safety. It would have caused Boykins to square himself in the wrong direction, which would have given Martin time to at least get out of the endzone.
Instead Martin catches the ball two yards behind the goal line. ROUSHAR ALIEN HYPOTHESIS COMES NOW: If Martin can slip the tackle on Boykins, this is a minimum of a 40 yard gain. Likely six points. Number 9, Ogletree in the middle of your screen has a good angle, but is an inside linebacker and is likely not going to beat Martin in a footrace. Your next best angle belongs to All-American Safety Shawn Williams. Alas, instead of a well-disguised home run ball, Georgia gets two points.
I only bring this picture up because I want to show how hard Martin got hit. He's like three inches short of breaking the plane and doesn't make it out.
In fact, he got hit so hard he got knocked clean backwards for another yard loss on top of that. So that sucked.

4.) Brian Linthicum catches a 50 yard pass to set up the tying Touchdown.

Two things happened on this play that made all the difference. Georgia sent six on the blitz and it didn't get home. Thing number two is that in the still above, Linthicum had not yet caught the ball and Travis Jackson was a few yards downfield. I'm not saying that's an illegal man downfield, I'm just saying maybe be a bit more careful about that in the future.

I really wanted to do a workup on how and why Linthicum had 7 grabs for 115 and what gave him that success in this game. Unfortunately,  there really wasn't a typical play to chart on the matter. 115/7 is 16.3 yards per grab. He had two catches in the neighborhood of that a 17 yard pass from Cousins and an 18 yard pass from Martin, but his other catches were for -1,3,23,50 and 5 yards. So his day seemed to be largely feast or famine so it's difficult to use that as a framework to describe the whole day.

5.) I can't make this BieLOLema up.

I swore those were the Dr. Dre's Beats, but instead they're Bose. And as every audiophile jokes, "No highs, no lows, it's Bose". Crappy headphones and a pair of Officer Barbrady aviators. That's bi-winning!


Prior to the Outback Bowl all I heard from a couple of the Georgia bloggers that I follow is how afraid MSU should be of Georgia's D. It's absolutely true, their defense was excellent in getting Cousins to turn the ball over three times for the first and only time in 2011 and holding Bell to his lowest YPC of the season. For as much as I made reference in the MSU D vs UGA O post about how well MSU's D played, UGA's D did an equally impressive job.

The Offense as a result had kind of a feast or famine day and Dan Roushar got to wheel out his inner OC alien which always makes the denizens of Zerfgnax happy. In rewatching this game, we are going to miss Kirk Cousins next year. In spite of having a poor game, he had the poise and confidence to get in there and win MSU the game. People who think Maxwell will be an immediate upgrade will be lucky if they're right, as will we, the fans.

This is a great building block win for going into 2012. Georgia was a young and talented team who got the jump on MSU early and couldn't quite hang in there to close out the game. MSU beat a team when the two teams were on equal footing. It was a great way to close out the career for so many deserving seniors and set up our future seniors for their bowl game success.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hoping for Good Surprises

Ever notice how much the outcome of a football season is influenced by surprises?  For example, how well would the Spartans have done last year if the play of our linebackers had not been a good surprise?  Honestly, I expected that unit to take a step back last year considering that the Spartans needed to replace Greg Jones and Eric Gordon.  Yet, the linebackers turned out to be one of the strengths of the team.

Surprises can also work against you, however.  For example, the running game was supposed to be the strength of the team, last year.  The "three-headed monster" (Baker, Bell, and Caper) was supposed to carry the team.  But it turned out that the offensive line struggled more than most of us expected.  I expected some struggle but not so much that the Spartans would end up last in rushing yards in the B1G and 78th in the country.  Clearly, that was not a good surprise.  If not for the surprising dominance of the defense (honestly, who expected the Spartans to finish in the top 5 in defense?), the weakness of the running game may have produced a losing season.

So what would be a good surprise for next year?  Well, as everyone knows, the Spartans are losing all of their starters from the passing game: Cousins, Cunningham, Martin, Nichol, Linthicum, and Celek.  That's pretty devastating.  So if we only get one good surprise next year, it would be nice if it came in the form of an explosive passing game.

It would be nice if Andrew Maxwell turns out to be Andrew Luck II, but I'm not greedy.  I would count it a nice surprise if Maxwell simply played as well as Kirk Cousins did in his junior year.  It would be spectacular if at least two of our talented receivers for next year would play as well Keshawn Martin and BJ Cunningham did this year.  But I would be happy if they played as well as Martin and Cunningham played in their junior years.

How important is it for the Spartans to get a nice surprise from their passing game?  Well, I would go as far as to assert that if the Spartans experience no other surprises -- that is, if the O-line, D-line, running backs, linebackers, defensive backs, and special teams all play as well as I expect them to play -- then they could compete for a national championship.  Of course, things never work out so neatly.  If the universe surprises us with a great passing game, it will probably balance itself by taking away our D-line (perhaps Jerel Worthy proves irreplaceable), or something else.

Unfortunately, surprises are by definition unpredictable.  But they are so common that we might as well assume that some big ones are going to occur this fall.  The probability that all the surprises will fall our way are relatively low.  But you never know.

A BieLOLema To Cure A Case of the Mondays

Sometimes you get A Case of the Mondays. There's only one thing to cure that, for me anyway. I think at least our football coach is not Rob Riggle from the Goods.

Someday he's gonna get some and it's going to be amazing.

A happy Monday Evening to you.

Monday Hot Links Is Playing NBA Jam While Watching Glengarry Glen Ross

Photo Credit: MLive
It was A Tale of Two Halves in West Lafayette on Sunday as MSU demolished Purdue 76-62. Brandon Dawson had a double-double, scoring 15 points and 11 boards including this NBA Jam! Draymond Green also scored a double-double picking up 20 points and 10 boards in the effort.

In the first half of the game, Robbie Hummel went on a monster tear turning in 18 points to put Purdue up 38-35 in the half. Even in the first half, you could see Izzo starting to work the Matta blueprint by substituting in Kearney and Gauna to chip away at the Boilers recently eroded depth chart. In the end it was too much for Purdue as MSU outscored them 41-24 in the second half for the victory.

Four Factors

Obviously, MSU made it's hay in Effective Field Goal percentage and Offensive Rebounding Percentage against Purdue. Lately, the defense is getting lots of deserved dap from the lovers of MSU basketball but the offense has very effectively held up it's end of the bargain with an eFG of over 55 percent against Purdue and Wisky.

B1G Title Outlook

MSU moves into sole possession of first place(11-3) in the Big Ten after Michigan beat OSU 56-51 and MSU's win on Sunday afternoon. Michigan and OSU are close behind at (10-4). MSU has to win 3 of 4 to share a title with either OSU or Michigan. Michigan has the easiest path to winning their last four, they play no ranked teams, but three away games. MSU plays two ranked teams and two away games. MSU/OSU on March 4th will almost certainly decide the Big Ten.

If People Cared About Hockey the Way They Care About Football, Tom Anastos Would Be As Big A Deal As Brady Hoke Was In 2011

The Icers swept the Alaska Nanooks and defended East Lansing from it's YouTube demise over the weekend to move into fourth place in the CCHA standings. The last series of the regular season is this upcoming weekend at Notre Dame. The Spartans need to get five points at ND to clinch first round home ice. They've also improved their chances at an NCAA tournament bid and are currently projected as a #3 seed.

The parallels between Brady Hoke and Tom Anastos are significant. Both coaches inherited programs that wanted a return to core values. Both coaches inherited teams that were full of players that needed reworking to fit their new/old system. Both coaches were thin on experience. Only one is actually thin though, ZING! Both coaches have made great strides with their team in year one.

Speaking of Brady Hoke...

I think he got all liquored up and watched ALL OF THE GLENGARRY GLENROSS on his way to an eight commitment weekend. Here's some footage of Hoke's "Soft Sell".

MSU Junior Day is this upcoming weekend. Do not expect an eight commitment weekend. No one should ever expect that, your life would be a series of disappointing weekends. More info on who will be attending later this week. Little Brother Blog has a good post on how the Michigan recruiting bonanza helps clarify the MSU recruiting picture.

Bonus Bits

As it regards conference expansion, the hopes for the SunBeast conference aren't dead yet. The NFL Combine starts on Wednesday, lest you forget, and the Seahawks will be watching Kirk Cousins. The writer who penned the racist Jeremy Lin headline has been fired, but the ESPN anchor who spoke the words gets to stay, because he's Ron Burgundy?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Quick Word on Recruiting's Hokeamania

Yesterday, if you follow recruiting, you know Brady Hoke picked up six(6)! Rivals top 250 commitments. Getting six commitments in one day is the stuff of walking down the street and finding an unattended four pack of 120 Minute Dogfish Head. Getting six top 250 commitments is like having a stranger bump into you with a case of it and say "I don't like beer and I hate myself even more. Have this." It's a Champaign and Zookers kind of day.

If you're a Spartan recruiting fan, days like yesterday probably bring out your inner Kevin Bacon. Days like yesterday are tough because then every Michigan honk who just knows recruiting and has a selective memory will find you in the office and say ridiculous things. You can look at them and retort "Scoreboard", after all they had no problem doing it to you when UM basketball swept Izzo last year.

As fans of MSU, it would be stupid to pretend like these things don't matter. They do.  Is it worth acting like Hoke has already won the recruiting season? No, absolutely not. Of the six commits, only Wyatt Shallman and Kyle Bosch reported Spartan offers. As an offensive tackle, Bosch was a big miss at a position of great need. He was reported to have visited MSU seven times and when that happens, closing is a must. Shallman was a DE/TE type from Detroit Catholic Central which is a pretty MSU/UM neutral school, we need those too.

Of the remaining four, two, Jourdan Lewis and David Dawson go to Cass Tech which means two things. 1.) They are not coming to MSU, they will go out of state before MSU. 2.) Their odds of contributing to a team in any meaningful fashion are low. Of the other two, Chris Fox lives in Colorado. I don't know if MSU even recruits Colorado . Taco Charlton is another TE/DE type out of Ohio. I think he'd have gotten an MSU offer as the year wore on, that's just me though.

I said several weeks ago that 2013 is the year I expect to see two eleven win seasons start to translate into recruiting success. The evidence of that success showed itself in the closing days of 2012 with the signing week commitments of Demetrious Cox and Monty Madaris. The early commitments of 2013 include a bruising running back in Gerald Holmes and our Middle Linebacker of the Future in Jonny Reschke. Both are players at a position of need who play Dantonio-style football.

The recruiting season is far from over, in fact, with 350 days left until Signing Day, it's just beginning. If you're jumping off the ledges now, you should stop following recruiting and just start watching games only. After all, that's where MSU has been winning lately.

Isn't that all that matters?

Bonus Bits

Munn Minute has your Nanook Saturday Night Recap in which all things come up Milhouse. Green Thoughts has light speculation on MSU Hockey's NCAA tourney chancesThe Only Colors has an Ode to the Spartan Defense.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Game Preview, Purdue and the Hobbled Painters

Photo Credit: tagsgf.com
Who: Purdue Boilermakers
When: Sunday 1:00PM Eastern
Where: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette
Channel: CBS/ 94.9FM

MSU heads down to West Lafayette looking to extend their winning streak to five. Purdue(17-9)(7-6) could use a win to move them firmly off of the bubble and into an at-large spot. MSU (21-5)(10-3) on the other hand is destroying fools at a torrid pace and is starting to think a lil' bit about 1 seeding their way into the tourney. Weird how three more Big Ten wins is all that stands between comfortably in the tourney and being on the bubble watch. Oh and your two non-con losses being to Duke and UNC never hurts either.

Update: Since I wrote the bulk of this preview Friday morning, Purdue has suffered some pretty epic losses. D.J. Byrd, Hammer and Rails preferred Purdue player of the Big Ten Season has been arrested and will be suspended for Sunday's game. To make things even better *sarcasm for both MSU and Purdue fans*, Boiled Sports frustratedly reports that Kelsey Barlow has been kicked off the team after his third excusable offense. So if we run down to Purdue and blow them out by 30 after this happened to their team, Purdue fans will hate MSU the way Iowa fans hate Dantonio. There will be no calls to "SWEEP THE LEG" on my part Sunday.

The Purdue Quick Rundown
The KenPom Take

When MSU Has The Ball

In KenPom stats, he's kind enough to color code good things green and bad things pink or even red. The green, we has it. The pink, they has it.  For a very easy guide to Tempo-Free Stats check out this ditty at the Only Colors. MSU has a better rebounding percentage on offense than Purdue does on defense, 39.2% to 32.3% respectively.  MSU has an effective FG percentage of 52.4 to Purdue's 53.2 percent allowed. Purdue has been consistently weak on defense this year, giving up higher than average 2pt and 3pt percentages. Further, they've had lower than average steal and block percentages.

When Purdue Has The Ball

The green, we has a lot of it still, but not as much as on offense. The red, they has less of it. Purdue takes excellent care of the ball, with their stupid-low 12.5% turnover percentage. They also shoot the three well averaging 36.7 percent from beyond the arc. They do not shoot free throws well at 66 percent they have the second-to-worst Free Throw shooting percentage in the Big Ten.

Keys To The Game

- Keep the turnover percentages close.
- Make our threes, don't let Purdue make theirs.
- Kill them on the MSU Offensive glass.

The only thing to worry about as it regards this game is the Occasional College Team Brain Fart. With the damage done by the loss of Barlow and Byrd, I just don't see Purdue making a strong game of this. 

Totally Accurate Prediction: MSU by 11.

A frustrated preview exists over at Hammer and Rails. Banks of the Red Cedar has moved to just http://www.banksoftheredcedar.com and celebrates by stating it's case for MSU's Draymond Green for B1G Player of the Year. Munn Minute has a recap of last night's exciting 3-2 OT victory over the Nanooks and a very brief preview for Gameday Part 2. Boom Roast says it's sorry to Austin Thornton.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Here's Your Shield Jonny Reschke

Photo Credit: 247 Sports
Jonny Reschke announced his commitment to Michigan State via Twitter this afternoon. "Just joined the Spartan family. COMMITTED TO MICHIGAN STATE!!!!". Reschke is ranked a four-star recruit by Rivals, Scout and 247 Sports. Reschke reports offers from Michigan State and Toledo and will play Middle Linebacker for the Spartans. His commitment wasn't expected today but MSU did not take a Middle Linebacker prospect last year and the rumor was MSU was leaving this spot specifically for Reschke to become Bullough's replacement. Some idiot blogger guest writing for the Only Colors even went so far to project him as our 2015 Mike.

Obviously this early in the recruiting cycle there's no reason to get too worked up about a lack of offers. If this were August and he were rolling two offers deep I'd be a bit more concerned.

A Predictor of Future Success is YOUtube

What's to love about this kid? He sheds his blocks really well. There are several times in the two minutes of the video where a dude runs up to him and Reschke slides the kid out of his way. He seems to run to the sidelines really well and attacks through the offensive line quite nicely.  Swagger, he has it. I think there is no more important place in a sport for swagger than playing defense in American football. Areas for improvement? He tackles high and doesn't always take the best angle but that's a little nitpicky. The things that matter, size, speed and swagger are all there.

Jonny Reschke was the Mike of the future probably as far back as a year ago. We've been keeping this spot warm for him and today he's taken it. He'll be a great addition to the MSU defense and I'm excited about this commitment.

Weekend Reading Is Afraid of The Earth Destroying Polar Bears

Wisconsin Annihilation Rejoicing(WAR) and A Look Ahead

Did you enjoy Bo Ryan's Sad Panda? MLive says you can thank Austin Thornton and Keith Appling for that. Spartan State points out that this is MSU's 6th win over a ranked opponent this season. The Lady Spartans also pulled out a 62-46 victory last night to complete the sweep against the Badgers. With that huge game out of the way Banks of the Red Cedar takes a look at the Sprint to the Finish. Hammer And Rails is reporting that valued contributor D.J. Byrd has been arrested and will likely sit against MSU on Sunday. Game preview of Sunday's Purdue game on Sunday morning as well as many other places I'm sure.

Senior Night/Weekend at Munn this weekend

It's senior weekend at Munn this weekend and the icers complete their four year journey through some pretty rough hockey. Neil Koepke writes that they are putting a happy ending on these four years.

The Munn Minute has a series preview on the Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks over on their site. The Munn Minute is doing a really nice job. If you want to follow hockey, but don't know where to start, I have found this blog helpful. But. This. Is. Amazing.

NFL Combine Is Next Week

Banks of the Red Cedar has some ratings on the players appearing in the draft. Mike Mayock predicts Kirk Cousins as a fourth rounder and career backup. *Sarcastic Thumbs Up*

Photo Credit: College Humor
To be clear I would take NFL backup money to hold a clipboard. Interested teams hit me up on twitter or e-mail.

MSU has started an All-America campaign for Draymond Green and Torey Krug. MSU Baseball starts it's Spring Campaign on Friday.  A UM victory over OSU really improves MSU's shot at the title, check out UM Hoops Preview of the game.

Game Review, SiƩntese usted Diablo

Photo Credit: Abraham's House Of Foolishness
MSU dismantled the Badgers 69-55 in a game that smacked of the good old days of Cleaves, Mo Pete and the boys. Bo Ryan would have shed a single manly tear, except he can't cry. His tears immediately turn to steam because his skin is a constant 322 degrees.

WE SHALL CELEBRATE OUR GOOD TIMES. MSU swept Wisconsin for the first time since the 2001 season. Justice is done, evil is punished and the only thing left is to do is figure out the how's and the why's.

The stifling defense. It continues. MSU held Wisconsin to 55 points, and has not allowed more than 60 points to a team since the January 14th loss to Northwestern. Wisconsin has been excellent on defense in Big Ten play giving up 56 ppg going into tonight and not allowing a team to shoot better than 50 percent from the field. So for MSU to score 69 points really shows how well the offense played.

You know what else shows how well MSU played. The actual numbers!

Turnovers were kept in check. Don't need as many offensive rebounds when your Effective FG% is through the roof against a defense as good as Wisconsin. I was worried I might run out of chart for how high that bar is. FTR looked great too. Statistically, a VERY sound game.

This team is playing basketball that is fun to watch. Joyous to watch, even. If this team doesn't peak too early they could go from a team picked to finish in the middle of the Big Ten pack to another of the patented Izzo bracket killers.

This is my first review using Tempo-Free stats, so if I screwed up, do me a solid and let me know.