Fat Guy’s Corner

Escape artists

Jeff Day — Sports Columnist

Jeff Day — Sports Columnist

The Michigan Wolverines escaped with a 58-57 victory over arch rival Michigan State last Sunday. The victory earned Michigan a season split with the Spartans. I will say, Michigan State’s whipping of the Wolverines was much more impressive than this Wolverines’ victory. Michigan tried to blow a 10-point lead with four-and-a-half minutes remaining in the ball game. Trey Burke to center court, please!

Yes, Burke saved the day for all Wolverines’ fans on this day. Trey stole the ball from Keith Appling and converted it into a layup with 20 ticks left in the game. Derrick Nix made one of two free throws for MSU. Mitch McGary then failed to convert a one-and-one at the free-throw line. A Michigan State victory was on the table for the taking.

The Wolverines then called on Mr. Burke to the rescue, again! Burke stole a pass from Appling intended for Gary Harris in the corner. Game, set, and match for Michigan.

I will say this: Trey Burke should be college basketball Player of the Year. It will be a downright disgrace if he doesn’t get it. He is Michigan basketball! No Trey Burke and this is a .500 basketball team the Wolverines put on the hardwood. My prediction was 63-59 Michigan victory, so I didn’t miss by much. I will confess the first prediction was horrible, so I also earned a season split on the MSU and Michigan predictions. Michigan fans, you should be worried about this basketball team come March tournament time. They have no killer instinct and the offense has stagnated here lately. Defensively, they are not that tough, either, in my opinion.

Michigan State fans, you should have more optimism heading into March. Tom Izzo’s March resume is fabulous and his teams perform in March. Keith Appling needs to start playing better, however, for a deep Spartan run in March. I like the Spartans to advance deeper in March than the Wolverines at this point. Bring on the Big Ten Tournament and maybe these two will meet again for the rubber match.

Wheeled Wings

The Detroit Red Wings gave a valiant effort in trying to stop the Chicago Blackhawks’ point streak at 21 games. The errant flip of the puck over the glass resulted in an untimely delay of the game penalty with two minutes left. The Chicago boys capitalized with a power-play goal and the streak continued. The “Hawks” then won in an overtime shoot out, 2-1.

I felt the Red Wings played their best hockey game of the season. I feel if the Red Wings put forth that kind of effort night in and night out, they will qualify for the playoffs.

It’s going to be an absolute dog fight to the wire in the Western Conference for the fifth through eighth seeds. One point might be the difference here in 2013. I really hope the young men in the Winged Wheels keep on growing as a hockey club and take a wealth of experience from Sunday’s hockey game.

I call it young growing pains of a very inexperienced team in Detroit. The injuries Detroit has suffered could be a blessing in the long run. I see the Red Wings getting better here lately in the last two weeks. The passing of the puck has been better and the grit and effort has finally been there. The power play is still a work in progress and needs to be much better. Jimmy Howard is absolutely solid between the posts! One could not ask any more of him. My huge gut feeling is the Red Wings make the playoffs, but by the slimest of margins. Let’s hope I am right.

Boys of spring

The Tigers’ spring training has been going pretty good so far and they have no major injuries, which is good. The one concern, and it’s going to be big problem, which will need to be addressed. Where I am going with this? The CLOSER! Yes, once again, the closer role has several question marks. No, put the phone down, you’re not calling Papa Grande. Shocking, nobody has signed him yet. NOT! Bruce Rondon has been getting shelled and issuing walks like they are free coupons. I can’t go through another season of a ninth-inning profanity-laced season. Detroit Tigers trade some young talent and get a CLOSER!! Stay tuned on the Rondon experiment. thefatguy@mihomepaper.com

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