Hoops and "Sports Therapy"
I'm glad hoops season is about to take over MSU sports headlines after a tough senior day in Spartan Stadium. That "Ouch!" feeling -- with a light case of "What next?" paranoia -- from the second-half debacle with PSU is starting to recede with help from a rock-solid Izzo team set to overtake Jud Heathcoat's MSU total-wins record this weekend. Great therapy for an improved attitude and confidence regained in the Spartans.
Moving on to one fantastically promising hoops season, Florida this Friday will probably be nearly as challenging as Gonzaga last week. Then on Saturday MSU will play either UMASS or Rutgers. The four teams' records are (with opposing teams' current records in parentheses for some clue about the quality of competition):
MSU (4-0) - MSU v. Florida Gulf Coast (0-3) W 97-58, v. Gonzaga (3-1) W 75-71, v. Toledo (0-3) W 75-62, v. Valpo (1-3) W 90-60
Florida (3-0) - UF v. Stetson (1-3) W 74-46, v. Georgia Southern (1-3) W 69-49, v. Troy (2-1) W 80-58
UMASS(2-2) - UMASS v. UCF (4-1) L 84-67, v. Cornell (2-1) L 74-61, v. Arkansas-Fort Smith (no ESPN.com web page, campus web site shows 1-1 record) W 94-68
Rutgers (2-1) - RU v. Marist (0-2) W 74-67, v. Drexel (0-3) W 58-56, Vermont (2-1) L 77-71
It looks like all four team were scheduled to beat up on light early-season competition and only MSU-Gonzaga jumps out as a worthy challenge given the in-conference competition they'll all face in January. My guess is that MSU-Florida will parallel the Gonzaga game where Spartan depth outlasted a solid competitor. UMASS looks wobbly on the surface with sizable losses to UCF and Cornell. And, Rutgers seems to compare with IU or Iowa -- in rebuilding mode as they struggle against modest competition.
How do you see the weekend unfolding?