Well where to begin? It was a good week for Michigan State basketball.
The now No. 5 Michigan State Spartans clobbered the undermanned Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday 62-34. Michigan State’s defense continues to dominate the opposition. The 34 points allowed is the fewest since Michigan State played Brown University when it opened up the 2006-2007 season. It was the least amount of points allowed in Big Ten play for the Spartans since the 1999-2000 championship season against when MSU played Northwestern. Finally for Nebraska, it was the lowest scoring effort since the shot clock was invented.
Senior forward Draymond Green joined an elite group of Spartans when he grabbed his 1,000 rebound of his career. Green joins Antonio Smith, Johnny Green, and Greg Kelser in the 1,000 rebound club, and has let Kelser know he is coming after his record of 1,092 rebounds.
Seniors Austin Thornton and Brandon Wood share a post game hug. (Photo Credit AP)
Senior Brandon Wood has been around a lot of colleges during his basketball career. His long journey has included playing for Southern Illinois, transferring to a division II school, transferring to Valparaiso University and finally ending it playing for the Michigan State Spartans.
While at Valparaiso Wood was the star and averaged over 17 points during his sophomore year, and 16 his junior year. Wood graduated and decided to test the NBA waters by putting his name in the draft, after hearing what scouts thought of him, he decided to polish them even more at MSU.
Wood has had a good season for MSU, he averages over 8 points a game, and while that’s less than he did at Valparaiso there is 10 times the talent on the MSU team, and Wood no longer needs to be the star. A few weeks ago Wood’s stepbrother was shot in the head. He survived but it was an emotional strain on Wood. A week later Wood faced more strain, coming in the form of a shoulder strain. Wood has since lost his starting spot, and is now equipped with a shoulder brace but that isn’t stopping him from becoming a force for the Spartans.
Under Tom Izzo, and assistant coach Dane Fife, Wood has transformed into a defensive minded guard, something that the Valparaiso coaches would be shocked to see. Wood is rebounding well, and shutting down the opposition.
Last night the No. 6 Michigan State Spartans traveled to Minnesota in a key game with the Big Ten championship on the line. Down by as many as 9 points with under 10 minutes to play, Wood came off the bench and became the spark that the Spartan’s needed.
Just like in the movie “300″ these Spartans banded together to make a stronger team. This was one of the most complete team performances this year from No. 7 Michigan State (22-5, 10-3) and Tom Izzo. Continue reading
When No. 7 Michigan State hosted No. 15 Wisconsin last night, the announcers seemed to spend the whole game yelling “And one!”
At one point, Michigan State had four straight possessions that resulted in and-ones. By dominating Wisconsin throughout on their way to a 69-55 win, Michigan State demonstrated that they are just plain good and the shoe company And1 is yet again irrelevant. Continue reading
Michigan State did something that no team has done since 2010.
Win at Ohio State.
The No. 12 ranked Spartans battered the No. 3 Buckeyes Saturday night to snap Ohio State’s 39 home-game winning streak. The streak was the second-longest in the nation, only behind Kentucky.
Ohio State center Jared Sullinger and Michigan State center Adreian Payne go way back. The two both grew up in Ohio and have been playing against each other ever since AAU.
It was a personal battle for Payne, who was playing in front of his home state. Payne played excellent defense on Sullinger, and it was clear that Sullinger was frustrated with the physical play by the Spartan defense.
Payne was a force for the Spartans on the offensive side of the ball as well, scoring a career-high 15 points. Sullinger was able to get his points with 17 and rebounds with 16, but the duo of Payne and Derrick Nix caused Sullinger to turn the ball over a career-high 10 times. Sullinger looked dazed on the offensive side and scored most of his points on easy put backs.
Draymond Green grabs one of his 16 rebounds against Michigan on Feb, 5 at the Breslin Center. (Photo Credit SB Nation Detroit)
Well that’s finally over.
The No. 10 Michigan State Spartans (18-5, 7-3) beat their in state rivals No. 21 Michigan Wolverines (17-7, 7-4) 64-54 on Sunday, Feb 5th.
The win ends a three game losing streak to the Wolverines, one less than the Spartans have over the Wolverines in football.
Senior forward Draymond Green had hurt his knee against Illinois a few days before the Spartans and Wolverines were set to battle, but Green wouldn’t let the knee injury keep him out from his last game against Michigan.
Green had his best career game against Michigan. The Saginaw native scored 14 points, dished out four assists, and single handedly out rebounded the entire Michigan Wolverines team 16 to 15.
After losing by one point to Michigan earlier this year, Green had sworn not to lose to them again.
“You can’t say something and not back up your words,” Green said. “I’d be less of a man to guarantee something, promise something and not come out here and do what I can to back up my word.”
Tom Izzo celebrates win no. 400 with his team at the press conference. Courtesy of Mlive
“I’m pleased to say I am here for life at Michigan State,”
“I am going to be a lifer,”
“This is what I’m going to be. And I’m damn proud of it.”
Those were the words Tom Izzo said during his press conference two summers ago. Those words made the statement that Tom Izzo would be a Spartan for life after the NBA has continuously tried to sweep Izzo off his feet.
Tom Izzo made another statement last night, but he didn’t speak it.
Izzo claimed victory no. 400 against Minnesota at the Breslin Center on Wednesday night. The win means much more than Michigan State improving to 17-4 and moving into a first place tie for the Big Ten.
Tom Izzo directs his team courtesy of the NY Daily
Tom Izzo doesn’t usually get emotional when he accomplishes something for himself. He saves it for when his team or a player reaches a milestone but, with under a minute left in No. 10 Michigan State’s (17-4, 6-2) victory over Minnesota (15-6, 3-5) Tom Izzo was tearing up on the bench.
The game itself was entertaining for Spartan fans. The Spartans only trailed once in the game and that was 3-2. MSU shot 54% from the field and out rebounded Minnesota 32-24 to a 68-52 victory.
Freshman Branden Dawson continued his recent strong play scoring 16 points with a few rim rattling dunks sprinkled in.
The real star of the game was senior forward Draymond Green.
The Saginaw native scored 22 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and had 6 assists. While Green is used to impressing the Izzone and Tom Izzo, he also impressed Minnesota’s head coach Tubby Smith.
Smith recruited Green heavily when Smith was coaching at Kentucky. Smith talked to the Lansing State Journal after the game.
Dawson engaged with other players on the court
One takeaway from the Michigan State vs Purdue game was Branden Dawson’s ability to turn it on when he wants to.
The freshman has the talent and skill set to play at the next level, it’s just getting him to consistently play with a passion.
Michigan State may of found it in the game vs Purdue.
Dawson really seemed to get fired up when he was engaged in talking trash to Purdue, including head coach Matt Painter. Dawson may believe he has something to prove to everyone once people start talking to him on the court.
It’d be a huge advantage for MSU to get Dawson motivated and fired up during games because his production is key for the Spartans to go deep in the NCAA tournament.
Personally I’m not a fan of talking trash on the court or field. It’s not my style but for certain players it works. One player it works for is Dawson’s teammate senior forward Draymond Green.
If you ever watch MSU games Green’s mouth is running from warm ups to after the game. He never stops. It’s part of his game to get inside the head of his opponent and frustrate them. Green should lend Dawson a trash talking session because Dawson sure did get fired up after talking.
The Indiana freshman finished with a team-high 14 points and added a few big slams just for good measure.
One of Branden Dawson's Thunderous Dunks Against Purdue
The last time No. 10 Michigan State (16-4, 5-2) lost two games in a row they went on a 15 game winning streak afterward.
After losing to Northwestern in a poor defensive game, and a tough one point loss at Michigan, the Spartans buckled down and crushed Purdue (14-6, 4-3) 83-58.
Purdue’s shooting resembled a middle school basketball game.
The Boilermakers shot 29 percent from the field. All-star Robbie Hummel struggled the most shooting 0-11 and finished with two points.
Michigan State center Derrick Nix continued his strong play down low scoring 12 points, shooting 5-7 from the field.
This was the breakout game for talented freshman Branden Dawson. The Indiana native was highly recruited out of high school between Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, and Purdue’s Matt Painter. Dawson chose MSU upsetting many Purdue fans.