Sparty having sub-par year




 

 

The NFL season is finally over, so now it’s time to focus on some winter sports like the NBA, MLB news, NHL and college hoops. It won’t be long and March Madness will be upon us. The big question there is, what is going on with Michigan State, Michigan and the Big Ten Conference? Michigan State is 6-4 in the Big Ten and 15-8 overall. The Spartans are led by Denzel Valentine 14.4 points a game. Branden Dawson is the rebounding leader at 9.9 a game. Travis Trice, who the Spartans expect to get scoring from, is shooting a lousy 37 percent from the floor. How about Gavin Schilling shooting a tremendous 62 percent from the floor and Bryn Forbes with a respectable 48 percent field-goal percentage. Why is Michigan State suffering such a mediocre season by Michigan State standards?

They just don’t have the rebounding power inside like most Tom Izzo teams have had in the past. The free-throw shooting is not very good either. I feel as though this is one of coach Izzo’s weaker teams that cannot afford to be inconsistent on the basketball floor and find ways to win like previous teams did.

I also feel as though this is not one of those MSU teams that can turn it on come March. They will make the Big Dance, but MSU will not make any noise come March.

The Michigan Wolverines are going nowhere come March. The Wolverines are 6-6 in Big Ten play and 13-11 overall. The loss of Caris Lavert for the season and Derrick Walton Jr. on the bench with a bad toe injury is too much for Michigan to overcome. Michigan did not have much to work with coming into this season, in my opinion anyway. It has no size and the proof is Derrick Walton Jr. is the leading rebounder with 4.7 boards a game. A guard for Cripe sake. Zak Irvin is shooting a lousy 39 percent from the floor while averaging 13.6 points a game. Spike Albrecht is a terrible 38 percent from the floor.

The surprise is the play of Muhammad-Ali-Abdur-Rahkman at guard. He is playing decent basketball. The Wolverines will be lucky to make the NIT Tourney and next year might bring better things for coach John Beilein and the Wolverines.

The Big Ten Conference has one team that has a shot at a NCAA title. The team is the Wisconsin Badgers who sit atop the conference at 9-1. The next best record is 7-4 shared by four other teams in the conference.

The Big Ten is filled with a bunch of mediocrity this basketball season.

The conference has a month left to convince me otherwise. Can anyone defeat the Kentucky Wildcats? That is the question. They might go undefeated; it’s very possible and I personally think they will.

Winged Wheels on fire

The play of the Detroit Red Wings so far has been absolutely stunning. Detroit loses its top two goalies in Howard and Gustavsson, which would have crippled all other NHL teams. The Red Wings turn to Petr Mrazek, who has been solid in the cage.

My question is, what do the Red Wings do when all of them become healthy? It is a tough call for coach Babcock to make. The Red Wings are 9-1 in their last 10 games. Detroit is also a solid 17-4-6 at home. Detroit and Montreal both have 71 points trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning which has 73 points. Tampa has played three more games than Montreal and Detroit, though.

The Wings have a tough six games in 10 days road trip coming up though. It starts Feb. 18 in Chicago followed by Dallas, Anaheim, L.A. Kings, San Jose and finishes up Feb. 28 in Nashville. Wow, is that brutal of the schedule makers.

Bad News for Tigs

Detroit Tigers spring training has yet to begin and there is bad news already, as Victor Martinez needs surgery on his left knee. Yes, it’s the same knee that V-Mart injured in 2012 with a torn ACL.

This injury is a torn left knee meniscus, so it’s not as serious, hopefully. The timetable for his return is unknown. Victor just signed a four-year deal worth $68 million and $14 million due this season.

Miguel Cabrera is also coming off right ankle surgery, which we all hope is healed and will not affect his performance this season.

The Tigers head into the spring training with lots of questions, and big ones to boot. thefatguy@mihomepaper.com


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