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Loyal reader (and German resident) Matt LeMeiux was kind enough to send along this update on the current exploits of Drew Netizel:

Greeting from Deutschland,

It has been an interesting month for Drew and his team. While Drew’s minutes have increased and he has finally broken into the starting five, the team has been struggling to say the least losing 8 of its last 10. Drew is currently averaging about 21 minutes of playing time, 3.2 assists, 1.2 TOs and 6.4 points. He is shooting  44% from the two-point range and 35% from behind the arch, As a starter he has been pulling about 27 minutes per game, but his time has again started to decrease in the last three games. The team just acquired Ronald Ross (Texas Tech) and Toby Bailey (yes, that Toby Bailey). It is clear that the line-up will change considering how poorly the team has performed. It is hard to tell what the acquisition of Ross will do to Drew’s minutes. The team plays again Saturday.

By the way, if anyone cares to do so, finding Drew’s numbers is relatively easy, despite the BBL site being entirely in German. The website can be found at:

http://www.basketball-bundesliga.de

From there choose “teams” from the main menu running across the top of the page. Scroll down, find the Artland Dragons, and select “Team-Stats”–and, voila, Drew’s stats are there. Sure was nice of the Germans to adopt most of the English terms related to basketball.

Auf Wiedersehen,

Matt

Thanks, Matt.  Next time, please use the word “Bundesliga” with greater frequency, though.  As you know, I love saying it.  Bundesliga.  Bundesliga.  Bundesliga. . .

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I’ve bumped this from the comments.  Thanks to Spartalytical for taking the time to compose his thoughts on the scrimmage and share them here.

Well, I did attend the Green-White game, and I’ll give my impressions of the goings on, though I’m nowhere near as witty or clever as kj. My apologies.  [Editor’s note: “Witty” and “clever” are not the first two words my friends use to describe me.]

Having attended Midnight Madess just two weeks ago, the team looked far more sharp and put together as a whole. There were still some sloppy plays and turnovers, but when you’re playing against yourself, I found it hard to evaluate on the fly whether one side was lapsing or if the other was really on the ball. What did generally strike me was that there were several instances of great defense, pocket-pickings, blocks, and lots of hustle. This was far more entertaining and telling then a couple of weeks ago. I’ll try to recount impressions player-by-player.

One of the two players that stuck out the most was Chris Allen, who had better than 30 points on the day. Those came from three, and many came from creating his own shot through traffic. He seems quite improved and much more comfortable with the ball than last year, and I was quite impressed. He’s got great athletic ability, and put it on display in various ways. As a welcome site so this board, he has raised his ability to successfully create plays.

The other star of the day was Kalin Lucas. Off the top of my head, I can’t remember seeing him make a single mistake this afternoon. Creating shots, spotting up, leaving his man turning in the dust, and playing very good, quick defense, he did it all. He doesn’t play the least bit like a sophomore. The point position is in very good hands.

Korie Lucious played well, grabbed a few steals, and made a few slick passes that sometimes caught his man off guard. He handled the ball pretty well, especially for his speed (at times).

I watched Isaiah Dahlman with glasses as rose-colored as I could muster, but I’m just not seeing it for him. Izzo’s said his playing time will increase this year, and while I do think his shot looks better (in warm-ups), the minute he has any kind of pressure or the shot isn’t perfectly open, he hurries it and it’s lacking quality. His defense wasn’t good, and his ball-handling lacking. Several reports have him improved over last year, but I’m far from convinced he’ll be a meaningful contributor.

I was left wanting to see more from Durrell Summers. He had a quite day as I recall. Hit a couple shots, made some hustle plays, but I’m not remembering anything extreme in either direction.

As the game went on, Travis Walton got better. Early on, he was relatively quiet and missed his few open looks. But those looks came more frequently as time passed, and he began looking more comfortable and scored with what looked like relative calm. I think he had better than 20 points, and had at least one long ball. His defense looked decent, but his offense is what ended up sticking in my mind.

Not remembering a ton from Marquise Gray. If there was any play that was generally sloppy, it was the big men, in which Gray played his part. Just not remembering a lot.

I kept waiting for Goran Suton to bust out, and he sort of did at one point with a couple of threes and a short-range shot, but he seemed a bit fumbly and underused. He had a couple of good sequences with Lucas feeding him in the post, and all in all he looked decent. Just didn’t pop out like I was hoping he might.

I think I remember Idong Ibok having a couple of good offensive trips at Midnight Madness a couple of weeks ago, but today he was a complete offensive liability. He had a few points on put-backs, but nothing impressive. Those mostly, if not exclusively, came against Herzog. He did get some good boards, however, and sent some shots flying authoritatively. If he can keep his nose clean with respect to fouls, he should be pretty good defensively as he seems to have a good sense for blocking shots.

Tom Herzog had a few offensive glimmers of hope. His touch is pretty soft, and if open he seemed pretty comfortable, but against any real defensive pressure he gets lost with his lack of power ability. He does seem to have good hands inside, but it was painful at times watching him match up against Ibok. Neither could really establish themselves over the other. Herzog has the better shot, Ibok the better defensive presence.

I was impressed with Delvon Roe today. He looked quicker and better able to contend for boards and position than two weeks ago. Not long before Midnight Madness, he said his knees were about 80%. Today was at least 90%, by my estimation. He was solid on the glass, made effective moves to the basket, and played good defense. He’s got a good back of tricks whether posting or slashing, and we saw some more of that today.

Draymond Green was an enigma, I thought. I can’t remember how many points he had, but on the offensive end I only recall one trip where he made an impressive heads-up play. He missed several short-range shots, turned the ball over inside, and just seemed like he didn’t know what to do with the ball. He also seemed to suck a lot of wind when the game would pick up its tempo from time to time. As has been mentioned before, he’s lost a ton of weight, and has gone above and beyond expectations in workouts and training this summer, but he looks to need a good bit of conditioning yet. Given his goofs on the offensive end, I thought Green was impressive on the defensive end. He established position and rebounded very well and very consistently. I think he blocked at least one shot, and interrupted passes. What was strangest was that he seemed to exert and handle his upper body strength very well on the defensive end, where it was all out of control on the other end.

Austin Thornton had some good looks and made a couple of solid-looking shots. Mike Kebler had a couple of good shots and well, capitalizing on some plays drawn up specifically for him. I don’t remember anything from Jon Crandell. Sorry to lump you three into the same paragraph, guys. I’d like to see more from Thornton – I can see him being a Jake Hannon type player.

Anyway, that’s my feeble attempt at a recap from today’s scrimmage action. I think there were a couple of other folks here who were planning to attend, so hopefully they’ll chime in as well. It was a good afternoon with a lot of opportunity to catch glimpses of how good this team could be this year. Overall, I was pleased and impressed at the progress apparent in the last two weeks.

It was also great to watch the end of the Wisconsin game on the monitor above. For as relatively empty as the arena was at the time (15% full at most, I’d guess), people were pretty pumped when MSU pulled out their victory in storybook style. Brett Swenson shakes off last week’s Michigan mishaps and comes through on two huge field goals, one of which wins the game with mere seconds remaining. Maybe I’ll write in Mr. Swenson for president on Tuesday’s ballot. Runner up for player of the game goes to another Bret (Bielema, that is), for his time out call enabling the game-winning field goal to actually be set up properly.

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This blog tends to be built around a lot of numbers and analytical whatnot.  But, at the heart of it, I’m just a fan.  And, I think, that’s what draws people like us together: a devotion to a cause, be it something as irrational as five guys in green tank tops playing a game against five guys in tank tops of a different hue.

So I thought it’d be fun to temporarily set aside the statistical mumbojumbo and share our greatest experiences as Spartans with each other by answering the following question:

What was your best day as a Spartan?

I’ve copied this idea from Bilfer at the Detroit Tigers Weblog (who is my personal blogging Jedi master).  Earlier this year, he asked his readers, “What was your best day in baseball?,” lifting that line from the fabulous book, The Soul of Baseball, by Joe Posnanski.  The book centers around Negro League great Buck O’Neil who made a habit of asking people he met that question, reflecting his unrelentingly upbeat attitude toward life.

I’ve adapted the question for our purposes.  The topic of your response can be about an MSU basketball game, an MSU football game, an intramural soccer game on Munn Field*, or, really, any experience that involves (1) you and (2) that school that’s known to all, Michigan State University.  It can be something you experienced in person or a moment of Spartan stupendousness you took in from your living room sofa.  It can be short and sweet; it can be a novella; it’s all good.

*I chose this example since I once scored a goal with my head, well my face really, in an intramural soccer game on Munn Field.

The main goals here are to (1) reminisce about great Spartan moments of the past and (2) learn a little a bit about each other.  But to add some incentive, we’ll make this a bit of a contest.  From the responses received, the best 3-4 entries will be selected by the independent accounting firm of Mrs. Spartans Weblog and Sons according to ill-defined and entirely subjective criteria.  Those finalists will have their entries posted on the front page of the blog and a poll of the Spartans Weblog faithful will determine the contest winner.  Said winner will receive a free copy of College Basketball Prospectus 2008-09.

Post your entry in the comments section below.  If, for some reason, you’d prefer to e-mail it to me, that’s OK, but the entry will then only appear on the site if it’s selected as a finalist.  To be eligible for the prize, entries must be received by noon next Tuesday, October 21.

To get us started, here’s my best day as a Spartan:

My wife and I were season basketball holders for four years as students at MSU.  As it happens, the only year we had seats in the lower bowl at Breslin was the 1999-2000 season.  Fortuitous timing, to say the least.

Of all the great moments at Breslin that year, the greatest, of course, was the win against Michigan to close out the regular season.  31 points for Charlie Bell, 20 assists for Mateen Cleaves, a whopping 4 minutes of PT for my wife’s favorite player, Mat Ishbia, and a 51-point blowout of our in-state rival.

After the game ended, we flooded out onto the court with the rest of the students for the Big Ten championship ceremony and comments by Mateen.  Those comments started with “Whaaaat’s Up?” and ended with a guarantee: “We WILL win the National Championship.”  The rest, as they say, is history.

I have a photo I bought at SBS of the scene on the floor of Breslin as the word “Whaaaat” is leaving Mateen’s mouth.  You can just make out the back of my head among the sea of students on the floor.  It’s a great memento of a day of pure Spartan joy.

Now, what was YOUR best day as a Spartan?

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I recently received two e-mails from readers that I thought were worth passing along.

First, Mblemieux provides a status report on the beginning of Drew Neitzel’s professional career in Germany:

The Basketball Bundesliga began recently and Neitzel played in both of the Artland Dragons loses. Against Alba Berlin, Drew had nine points in 20 minutes. Only one turnover. He had 8 points in 22 minutes against WALTER Tigers Tübingen and no turnovers. You can find box scores here.

Next up are the Giessen 46ers, a game which should be currently in progress.  [Ed.: Neitzel was scoreless in 15 minutes, I’m afraid.  I note the stats pages on the Bundesliga website include a stat called “EFF”–for efficiency, I assume.  Makes sense coming from the home of German engineering, I suppose.]

I live about an hour from where the Artland team plays. I’d be happy to keep you posted on Drew’s progress, although you may be paying attention (which isn’t easy to do with the Bundesliga, even here in Germany).

Thanks, Mr. LeMieux.  You are hereby appointed the Official Basketball Bundesliga Correspondent of the Spartans Weblog.  Also, as I’ve noted previously, the word “Bundesliga” is really fun to say.  Try it.  Bundesliga, Bundesliga . . .

Second, a reader named Joe poses the following questions:

Historically we had a pretty good rivalry with Notre Dame. With a few short breaks we played basically every year from 1908 to 1975. Even after we joined the B10 there were some years we played them twice. To put things in perspective, we’ve played Northwestern 110 times, Indiana 108 and Illinois 102. Without playing Notre Dame since 1979 we still have managed to play them 94 times.

So I guess this is a three part question:

1. Why did the series against Notre Dame end? Did we end the series or did they?

2. I’ve heard (you know one of those, “well I heard…”) that we don’t play them anymore because after we beat them enroute to the ’79 title  Digger Phelps got his panties in a bunch and refused to ever play us again. As he was coach until 1991, he effectively killed the rivalry by “banning” it for 12 years. Any truth to this rumor?

3. Now that Notre Dame is starting to be nationally recognized again is there any chance we begin to schedule them again? Seems pretty silly not to play against a nationally ranked team in our backyard that we have a long history with. (Beyond the Arc has ND at 22).

Anyone have any information on this?  I’d never thought about the possibility of scheduling Notre Dame for basketball, but I like the idea.  It’d be cool to have an annual nonconference rivalry game to get up for like Indiana has with Kentucky or Michigan used to have with Duke.

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  • Dave Dye concurs with the community here that the win over Bradley was big for MSU’s chances at success down the stretch.
  • Grant Wahl likes six Big Ten teams’ chances of making the Big Dance: MSU, IU, OSU, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Purdue.  He also notes that future MSU opponent Texas, despite the loss of Mr. Durant, has the two most impressive wins in college basketball to date: vs. Tennessee on a neutral court and at UCLA.  Should be a great game at the Palace on the 22nd.

Beyond that, I’m taking the night off.  Let’s try to get some reader feedback going.  Here’s a question to get the ball rolling:

Izzo has established a national reputation for scheduling tough nonconference games.  What are the most memorable nonconference games MSU has played during his tenure?

The one that jumps to mind for me is the game we played against Florida in 2000 after beating them for the national title the previous season.  My wife and I were in the upper-deck student section at Breslin.  The crowd was absolutely deafening before the game and ominously chanted “Teddy, Teddy” every time Dupay touched the ball throughout the game.  Dupay actually seemed to thrive off it and put up 17 points, but MSU prevailed 99-83.

Your turn.  Take us on a trip down memory lane.

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  • Dave Dye concurs with the community here that the win over Bradley was big for MSU’s chances at success down the stretch.
  • Grant Wahl likes six Big Ten teams’ chances of making the Big Dance: MSU, IU, OSU, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Purdue.  He also notes that future MSU opponent Texas, despite the loss of Mr. Durant, has the two most impressive wins in college basketball to date: vs. Tennessee on a neutral court and at UCLA.  Should be a great game at the Palace on the 22nd.

Beyond that, I’m taking the night off.  Let’s try to get some reader feedback going.  Here’s a question to get the ball rolling:

Izzo has established a national reputation for scheduling tough nonconference games.  What are the most memorable nonconference games MSU has played during his tenure?

The one that jumps to mind for me is the game we played against Florida in 2000 after beating them for the national title the previous season.  My wife and I were in the upper-deck student section at Breslin.  The crowd was absolutely deafening before the game and ominously chanted “Teddy, Teddy” every time Dupay touched the ball throughout the game.  Dupay actually seemed to thrive off it and put up 17 points, but MSU prevailed 99-83.

Your turn.  Take us on a trip down memory lane.

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