Behold - the Tom Izzo Corn Maze! Just head out to Westview Orchards just outside Detroit this weekend, and revel in the chance to get inside the head of the Michigan State b-ball bigwig. He’s all ears!
Sure, Tommy’s Spartans couldn’t get the job done against North Carolina last season, but I don’t see any Roy Williams tobacco field mazes outside of Chapel Hill, do you?
Among all his assets, one of the things that’s considered paramount in making Tom Izzo a star is his fierce sense of pride. The man is manic, refusing to back down in a blowout, exhorting his team to play tough defense and always trying to project a football-forged sense of identity. He practices hard, he coaches hard, he sings and dances hard.
Wait, what’s that?
(Izzo, who cares about the accordion? You’re surrounded by cheerleaders!)
Well, according to the DETROIT FREE PRESS, as of tonight, the last part of that sentence will actually be accurate. Izzo is set to star in a one-day only musical adaptation of his life — “Izzo Goes to Broadway” — in the campus theater at Michigan State. And make no mistake - this isn’t a fly-by-night production, either.
In a game played in front of about 70,000 rabidly partisan Spartan fans in Detroit (and roughly a couple dozen Husky fans), Michigan State outran, outmuscled, and outhustled UConn en route to an 82-73 victory. The leading scorer for the Spartans was Kalin Lucas with 21 points, but every time we looked up, Durrell Summers was making one big play after another, like a ferocious dunk in transition that capped a decisive 17-7 run.
(”F-CK YO FACE!”)
UConn hung tough, to say the least; the teams battled to a 49-49 draw midway through the second half. But shoddy play at the line and on the glass doomed the Huskies, who had looked like (arguably) the most impressive team in the tournament up to that point. We would go on, but you just want to watch Summers dunk in Stanley Robinson’s face, don’t you? Video, courtesy of THE HOOP DOCTORS, is after the break. Read more…
So much for inevitable fate of three Big East teams in the Final Four. Louisville should have saved something from that 40-point beatdown of Arizona the other night, because they looked like an exhausted team in the second half today and never even made a run to get back into the game once they got down for good.
The Spartans went on a 26-9 run in the second half en route to a 64-52 win in Indianapolis in front of a crowd that included a green-clad Magic Johnson.
And isn’t this just a classic Tom Izzo game? Sure, he’s got a lot of talent, but it just seems that he finds a way to get the most of every guy in his rotation in big games like this. Nobody was giving the Spartans a chance, even as a #2, to make the Final Four this year.
The Worldwide Leader dropped the bomb around midnight that Terrell Owens, whose given name could be Mercurial T. Owens, has been let go by the Dallas Cowboys. Clearly, anticipated chemistry issues with Jon Kitna forced the move. Kitna is on the record as preferring Sweet’n'Low while Owens is all about the Equal.
(”Ha ha ha ha… pack your stuff.”)
On SportsCenter last night, ESPN’s Michael Smith reported there would be significant financial penalties for the Cowboys to cut Owens as much of his 4-year, $34 million contract signed less than a year ago is guaranteed cash. We hope this means Owens will continue to have at least twenty million reasons to come back to camp this summer.
(Note to ESPN: Neil Everett is monumentally awful at ad-libbing. Never tell us how cool it is to be the one on the dais when news breaks. When a big story hits, break the glass on Bob Ley. Surprisingly good: Stuart Scott. Also, how did Ed Werder not break this story?)
(Note 2 to ESPN: Please remind Keyshawn Johnson that Charlie Manson comparisons may be a bit dated, not to mention a little racy.)
In brighter news, the Cleveland Cavaliers claimed the first musical chair in the Longines Symphonette that is the NBA playoffs with a 91-73 triumph at home against Milwaukee. The Cavaliers move to 48-12, which is exactly how LeBron James hopes his Knicks career starts in two years. (We kid, Cleveland, we kid.)
Then, when the Van Gundy with the honest living fussed about the sad little move, there was a Shaqhissy, captured on Miami’s 790 THE TICKET by Jorge Sedano and reproduced below in the popular MP3 format:
None of this, of course, helped the Suns win in Orlando or Miami. The Suns dropped their second Florida game in the “He Hate Me” series of former O’Neal teams last night in Miami, 135-129. No defense in here anywhere.
We feel compelled to note again that Shaq’s a complicated fellow. We recently saw him encourage his kids post-game to say hello to a fragile 7′ 6″ teen that sat near courtside after being featured on the local news the previous night. This was done under the stands with little fanfare, maybe a few dozen witnesses and none from the media.
When his young son was too shy to do so and tried to hide under Dad’s massive jacket, Shaq gently insisted until his son shook the adolescent hand. Shaq could relate to the teen’s condition better than nearly anyone on the planet and made sure that young man felt welcome. Also, Shaq showed his own son the importance of graciousness.
Shaq makes that gesture damned near every day of his life, often without credit. He’s also the same man that made the comments to the media above. He may have been compared to a meteorite by this author yesterday, but not in the most important way: Shaquille O’Neal is a force of nature. Try to comprehend him at your own risk.
Same for Terrell Owens. Same for LeBron James. Maybe not so much for Jon Kitna.
The biggest news out of the NHL trade deadline: Olli Jokinen moves from Calgary to Phoenix for a pretty bauble or three, allowing him to work for a team that has a half-decent chance of being solvent next season.
But how did Tom Izzo handle the Grand Valley loss? Shannon Shelton of the DETROIT FREE PRESS reports the coach kicked the players out of their own brand-new locker room, with digs to make most NBA teams envious.Wonder what Thad Matta will do about the Findlay falter. We recommend punishing his players with bad Chris Berman-esque puns during their next practice, such as, “What’s the Matta with you guys?”
Coincidentally, both Findlay and GVSU are members of the Great Lakes Intercollgiate Athletic Conference. So, there’s a lesson to be learned by the Big Ten big boys:
Then, things went from bad to worse for Sparty on the football field, as the Maize & Blue came from behind to snatch back the Paul Bunyan Trophy in a 28-24 thriller.It sucks to be a Spartan right now, but don’t let it get you down. The LANSING STATE JOURNAL offers an idea outlet for all that frustration - the Whac-A-Wolverine game:
It’s a simple premise - move you mouse around to hammer Chad Henne, mash Mario Manningham, and hurt Mike Hart. You Green & White Go-Go-Goers will be glad you did. And Buckeyes fans are certain to go nuts over the game, too.Besides, it wasn’t all bad news for the kids in East Lansing. The hockey team did win two in a row Friday & Saturday. Of course, they had to go all the way to Alaska to do it:
Their dog sleds probably aren’t back from Fairbanks yet, so let the skaters enjoy the weekend before anyone tells them what happened with their school chums.