Sunday, December 28, 2014

Catching up

I am writing this on a brand-new tablet that I received for Christmas. It was a most unexpected but pleasant surprise. No longer will I have to tap out this blog on my Android phone or sneak it in via any desktop computer that makes itself momentary available.
It's been quite an eventful few weeks in collegiate sports.
At this point, it seems a certainty that Jim Harbaugh will end up as Michigan's new football coach. I'd hoped that he'd turn down Michigan simply so I could witness the collective hand-wringing that would inevitably occur. Unfortunately, with the way the San Francisco 49ers' season has flamed out, it's almost inevitable that Harbaugh will cast his lot with the Wolverines.
With Harbaugh to Michigan, we'll have to deal with the inevitable "Michigan is back" chatter. The nausea factor will reach extreme levels. The Detroit media in particular is just clamoring for Michigan football to be relevant again, and we non-Michigan fans will simply have to weather the hype machine for at least a few weeks or perhaps months.
Back to Michigan State: the Spartan basketball team has had a rocky few weeks. The Eastern Michigan game was an inspired victory over a team that I still maintain is a contender for the MAC title. The Spartans handled the 2-3 zone with aplomb en route to a 86-66 victory. I was lucky enough to score tickets to the EMU game and brought my oldest son, who agreed to join me even though he's not much of a basketball fan.
The EMU game was followed up by a game against Texas Southern that was a polar opposite in terms of energy and urgency--and MSU couldn't make a shot to save its life. In some fairness to the Spartans, the Breslin Center (at least as it appeared on television) was a morgue and there was little energy from the fans for the team to feed upon. The crowd didn't come alive until Texas Southern took the lead with under two minutes left in regulation. It seemed like the sheer shock of the deficit woke the fans from their slumber. Unfortunately, the Spartans had already fallen permanently to sleep.
After the embarrassing loss to Texas Southern, which was easily the equal of Michigan's stunning defeat at the hands of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), the Spartans bounced back with a win over The Citadel--a game that few saw because it wasn't on television.
MSU basketball opens up the Big Ten schedule in two days against 12-1 Maryland. The Terps' biggest wins are against Iowa State and Oklahoma State, with its only loss coming against Virginia. So not an overwhelmingly strong schedule for Maryland, but still a 12-1 record is nothing to take lightly.
Four days until MSU football's game against Baylor in the Cotton Bowl. I hope that Pat Narduzzi can leave Michigan State on a bright note with the Spartans' defense containing Baylor's "track meet on a football field" offense. I'm worried that MSU struggled against Oregon and Ohio State, two teams with similar offensive attacks as Baylor. My hope is that lessons have been learned from those two losses and will be applied to the Baylor game.

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