Let’s start with the major headline of the day… The Spartan Men’s Basketball team topped Purdue in East Lansing this afternoon in an impressive effort, 83-58. Freshman Forward, Branden Dawson chipped in a team high 14 points highlighted by some acrobatic dunks in the second half. Derrick Nix and Austin Thornton followed suit by pitching in 12 and 11 respectively, both off the bench.
Both Draymond Green and Keith Appling tallied 18 points between themselves, yet it was their defensive presences that helped MSU overcome Purdue’s 18 offensive rebounds. Green spent most of the game locked onto Boilermaker star Robbie Hummel who ended his day with a season low 2 points.
The game, for as dull as the box score seems, brought some fireworks out of both head coaches during the press conferences. Purdue head coach Matt Painter shed light on some yelling he had done during the game towards MSU’s Branden Dawson as well as some fans in the Izzone. According to reports, members of the MSU student section were ridiculing Robbie Hummel chanting that they hoped he tore his ACL. Hummel, after a fantastic freshman season spent the last two years sidelined with two separate ACL tears. In defense of his players, Painter felt the need to stand up against the fans in the stands.
My two cents, from what I have heard, the verbal assault was cast by a select few members of the Izzone and should be kept into account when referring to the Izzone as a whole when dealing out fault. Even though we are a Spartan family, there is always going to be a few bad apples and the content of their yelling should not be thrown back in our faces. I do not condone, nor does Izzo, the way in which this group of students chose to rattle the cages of Matt Painter and Robbie Hummel. Now, that being said, as a player and as a head coach, move on! What this young man said, cannot be the worst thing you have ever heard said at an away venue. Be the adult andturn your head. Perhaps you could spend more attention to your team, who is falling into a 30 point deficit.
The real take away, as far as the Izzone is concerned, is that they have slumped back to being quite a bore. Two weeks removed from an Izzo lecture, the students brought the energy level up, showing the remnaints of Izzone alumni since the 90’s. Not today though. I wish I could stand up for the Izzone and say that they were most likely all nursing hangovers from the night before… but being an Izzone alum, I know better than that! Izzone members are continuing to be called out by former alum, and past players. If you’re an Izzone member, you need to get it together! What we’re seeing out of your performance, I’d love to take your seats from you and participate in another Izzone alumni section for the remaining home games… Show you rugrats how it’s done.
Following the MSU basketball game, was the East/West Shrine Game on NFL Network. Starring on the East’s offensive lineup was our very own BJ Cunningham and BJ did not let us down. Cunningham within the first two drives of the game reeled in 2 passes for 26 yards and a Touchdown. MSU’s all-time leading receiver now with an impressive senior all-star game looks to push himself into the 2ndor 3rd round of this year’s upcoming NFL draft. It was great to see BJ play one more game with the Spartan helmet and we wish him the best of luck in the NFL. Be sure to follow him on Twitter: BJCunningham_03.
BJ’s teammate and fellow Senior Wide Receiver, Keith Nichol, is also currently playing in an all-star game. The NFLPA, where as of this moment, Nichol has hauled in one pass for 37 yards. Nichol too is making a push for the NFL where some debate seems to be out as to what position Nichol will see the field. Some news has surfaced that Nichol could transition back to the Quarterback position while some other NFL teams would like to make Nichol a Safety in the defensive backfield. Personally, I would love nothing more than to see Nichol get drafted as a Wide Receiver to a team with a reliable Quarterback, like a Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, or Aaron Rodgers. I think Nichol could make the same impact as a Anthony Gonzalez in the slot.
Lastly, I am getting great delight out of some feedback I’ve gotten from the Michigan faithful about the reports of Mark Dantonio redirecting the focus away from a Michigan recruting coordinator at a local event. Let’s just get this thing over with shall we?! The story is soft. Who cares? A first hand accountcame out that what Dantonio did was popular amongst the majority of high school coaches in attendance. Yet I’ve been told other first hand reports show that Dantonio in-fact was being the curmudgeonthat everyone makes him out to be (even though I haven’t foundanything…). I too findthis story to be very ho-hum, especially when both coaches have already dismissed any ill-meaning behindthe move. What I find funny though is the reaction from Michigan fans, because it strengthens my stance that MSU and Michigan are in-fact in a “rivalry”. Deny it all you want Michigan fans, but when you bring signs to your bowl game poking at MSU and you blast MSU fans for Dantonio and Izzo’s every step, either you’re in a rivalry, or you’re oddly obsessed. Like I’ve said since this past fall’s fourth straight beating of Michigan on the football field… “Game on!”