Saturday, January 30, 2016

Is Spartan basketball back? (and other stuff)

I'm reserving judgment for now, but it looks like maybe, just maybe, Spartan basketball has righted the ship. They put in a dominating performance against Northwestern, a team that--after a great start--now does not appear capable of making the NCAA tournament.

Denzel Valentine looks like himself again, Bryn Forbes is out of his shooting slump, Matt Costello continues to play aggressive inspired ball, and Matt McQuaid had his best game in at least a month. He lit up the Wildcats in the second half.

So tomorrow MSU has what should be an easy win against Rutgers, the worst Big Ten basketball team in decades. Unless the Spartans come out either flat or over-confident (or both) it should be a blowout win for the Spartans at Breslin.

I'm still trying to figure out what Rutgers brings to the Big Ten. They are terrible in football and men's basketball, though they do have a strong women's basketball program under Vivian Stringer. Supposedly, Rutgers brings an East Coast television audience, but I'm not convinced.

On the subject of the most recent admissions to the Big Ten, I'm a little upset that it was so easy for Maryland and Rutgers to become members, while Michigan State had to cajole, lobby, and fight throughout the 1940s in order to gain admission. Now, admission to the conference seems to be as simple as how much television money can be gained from the new member school. The Big Ten isn't what it used to be.

Now back to Northwestern. Why are they so consistently mediocre in basketball? How is it that they have never made the NCAA tournament? It's baffling. Northwestern has been reasonably successful in football, but not in hoops. Conventional wisdom would be that it's more difficult to be good in football than basketball, though Northwestern has somehow defied that. I'll have to come back and inestigate this further.

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