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January 31, 2010

Big Game with the Dirty ‘Sconis Looms

Living in the heart of anti-Badger country (Minneapolis, MN) I have picked up a renewed dislike for MSU’s best basketball rivalry, the Wisconsin Badgers. The Badgers, likely missing big man Jon Leuer, are next on tap for MSU on Wednesday night at 9:00 Eastern, on ESPN.

For my money, at least in hoops, WI is the best rivalry we have. I can’t stand Bo Ryan, his little smirks, and constant crying to the refs. To me, the rivalry really took off a few years ago with Alando Tucker dunked the rub-your-nose-in-it ally-oop with less than a minute to go at the Kohl Center. MSU has not won at the Kohl Center since 2001, so I think it is safe to say to say we’ll have our work cut out for us.

Some macro season observations:

-This just in, Lucas is a cold blooded assassin. I saw the dagger against the Gophers first hand, and it is neat to see him grow into his leadership role and assume more responsibility.

-Morgan, last night’s game not withstanding, is putting together a very strong senior season. This is probably a huge over simplification, but it seems to me that under Izzo’s teams, key seniors perform one of 2 ways; they struggle, like Hill and Balinger, or they excel, like Walton and Anderson. Morgan looks a lot like Anderson to me lately.

 -Yes, Allen had a monster dunk last night. But I long for the day when both he and Summers excel in the same game. They seem to ying and yang, with one stepping up, and the other having an off night, at least in the shooting department. I know they can do it, it just never seems to happen at the same time.

With or without Leuer, I think this game is going to say a lot about our team. I think the 9-0 record is a little skewed because of a favorable schedule. Yes, they can beat middling B10 teams UMinn and UM on the road, both via late, game winning baskets. WI is better than both those teams. Can they step up and beat a first tier Big Ten team on the road? History says probably not, but this team has surprised me a few times this season to date.



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