With about under a minute left in the game tonight at Breslin, I turned to my brother-in-law Michael and yelled, since it was pretty loud in the arena, "Wisconsin is the single most annoying [basketball] team in the Big Ten." The Badgers have a knack for getting away with a lot of, shall we say, aggressive play in the paint, getting plenty of calls in their favor, and simply being pesky.
But enough about me griping about Wisconsin, the Spartans put forth perhaps their best defensive effort of the season tonight--or at least the best one I've seen in awhile. (It's easy to let hyperbole get the best of you in the immediate aftermath of a big win). MSU, and in particular Deyonta Davis, shut down Nigel Hayes and they also contained Bronson Koenig, Koenig only had one three-pointer through most of the game, until late when the Spartans' D may have gotten a little lax and Koenig knocked down a few when the Spartans had already essentially clinched the win.
As far as I'm concerned, and granted I view the world through green glasses, Denzel Valentine is national player of the year. He has become a great shooter, and incredible passer and assist machine, gritty defender, and has the ability to drive the lane when the opportunity arises. But beyond that, Valentine is a great leader and makes every player on the floor better when he's out there (and even when he's not). I feel quite comfortable in placing Valentine in the pantheon of great Spartan basketball players/floor generals, a list that includes Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Scott Skiles, Steve Smith, Mateen Cleaves, and Draymond Green,
Shout outs also to Eron Harris (possibly his best game of the season), Bryn Forbes (his great shooting continues), Matt Costello (making a case for a shot in the NBA), and Matt McQuaid (didn't do anything on offense tonight, but has turned in to an excellent defender).
Well, my computer is about to die, and I need to try and get some sleep. Go Green!