Well, it's been a long while since I've posted and it hasn't been for lack of things to say. After our sad, sad loss at HOME to Purdue and brutal loss AT HOME to Ohio State, I felt quite despondent over the state of things.
It wasn't the losses per se, but the way the Spartans looked during said losses. They would get down and fight like hell to come back (which was awesome) but then Purdue and Ohio State hit a couple shots and it felt like they just sort of went, "Ok. I guess we're done then." On the positive side, I have been a big fan of the way Lucas, Summers and Allen have been playing recently. The trouble is, MSU needs EVERYONE contributing and playing hard in order to be successful.
After yesterday's big win AT PURDUE (which frankly, I never expected), I feel better. Looking back, at this point in the season we are exactly where I thought we would be--split with Purdue, split with Illinois, split with Wisconsin...and the loss to Ohio State stinks, but given the fact that Evan Turner is currently playing out of his mind and the team seems to be peaking at the right time, it wasn't like they lost to a crap team.
Some thoughts about the Purdue game....
It was a bit of a weird game. Sloppy, physical, all in all, pretty ugly. I don't think Purdue is "bad" without Hummel, but they are certainly a different team without him. I think State definitely had something of an advantage in that they caught the Boilers in their first game sans Hummel and they were in a bit of disarray--much like the Spartans in their first game without Lucas. There is definitely an adjustment period there. I also think Michigan State might have had a little more confidence going into knowing Hummel wouldn't be on the floor--they had a whole week to prepare for Purdue KNOWING he couldn't play. This was an open-door for MSU to grab a little on that Big Ten title and I'm guessing the mental state of both teams affected the outcome.
Purdue was clearly off their game and part of it was on them, but part of that credit goes to the Spartans as well. They played good defense, crashed the boards HARD (but a lot of the time there were only green jerseys around the glass, as Purdue ran back to stop the run), and kept going inside, despite not getting fouls called or turning it over. Of course, turnovers were ridiculous, but frankly, I disagreed with a lot of the calls. Sorry, but Kalin Lucas and Raymar Morgan were not traveling EVERY TIME they tried to pivot. The thing that made me the happiest though, was seeing MSU play with composure the entire time. No matter what the call or the play before, it was like they just said, "Ok, that play is over. Next." Amazing. No matter where Purdue ranks or who is on the court, they always play hard and Mackey is a TOUGH arena. That crowd gets fired up--trust me, I've seen it in person. Hummel or no Hummel, it was a big win for State. Maybe not in the eyes of a committee or whatever, but for THEM I think it meant a lot. It made me proud. :)
Unintentional comedy for the day? Derrick Nix hanging on the rim after missing a dunk and tipping the ball in. Good effort, but....you can't ACTUALLY do that. In other news, Kalin Lucas has stolen my heart. That kid is just bringing it. I think his injury really sparked something in him that brought him to a new level of leadership--I love it. I am also a big fan of Summers and Allen right now....LOVE the way they are playing, though if Summers wanted to dunk more, I would be okay with that too.
~Despite what anyone may think, I actually feel really badly for Robbie Hummel. I don't think anyone wants a kid to get hurt, especially at this point in the season. For a kid like Hummel, who's battled injuries and worked so hard, it must just be devastating. Thankfully, he has another year still. Despite the fact that he's the bane of my exisitence because he's so good, he is a good kid who does the right things. I only hope the best for him.
~Evan Turner is playing out of his mind right now. It's not a shock that he's good--I KNEW that. But watching him play these last few weeks has given me a new level of respect for him. Wow.
~I wish I had this in writing, but I totally called Kentucky losing to Tennessee at Tennessee. Bruce Pearl is one of the few coaches that really seems to have Calipari's number. He has less talent than Kentucky, yet prepares his kids and gets them to respond in a way that is really impressive. Now that they've beaten Kansas and Kentucky, I would hate to face these guys in the tournament. Yikes.
~Is it kind of weird to anyone else that Notre Dame is actually playing really well WITHOUT their best player (Luke Harangody)...I mean, ever since he went down the Irish have gone from being a irrelevant team to a bubble team...really?!? It's so strange to me. Also, I think Tim Abromitis gets the nod for "most unfortunate last name" this year. It sounds like a disease..."And he gets hit by Abromitis..." "And Abromitis takes him down..."
~I still love Syracuse and Villanova. It was tough to watch them play each other, because I think both teams are just outstanding, but Syracuse REALLY stepped up. I would love to see both teams make the Final Four and I really believe they have the talent to do it. Here's hoping!