Potential Detroit Pistons’ Prospects Viewers Guide: Final Four Edition

pistons-logo1Most in the state of Michigan will tune into the Final Four with designs of watching the Michigan State Spartans try to continue their improbable run to a national title, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be something for fans of the Detroit Pistons, too.

Other than Michigan State, three additionally excellent teams, the University of Kentucky, Duke University and Wisconsin University will compete over the weekend. All have loaded rosters full of skilled players that could be of interest to the Pistons during June’s NBA draft. Continue reading

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Spartan Jump Shots, NCAA Tournament Edition: Michigan State vs. Louisville Preview

Michigan-State-Spartans-Logo-jpgDespite a poor start late Friday, the Michigan State Spartans managed to keep things together and forge an impressive second half comeback to beat the Oklahoma Sooners.

As a result, the Spartans earned the chance to play for another Final Four Sunday, and a familiar tournament foe awaits them in the Louisville Cardinals. Michigan State dispatched Louisville on the way to the Final Four in 2009, but was defeated by the Cardinals in the Sweet 16 in 2012, meaning some revenge could be in order.

Between Tom Izzo and Rick Pitino, the cache of at least one legendary coach will continue to grow by early Sunday afternoon. How will Michigan State get to cut down the nets again? Spartan Jump Shots previews the East Regional final in full. Continue reading

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Spartan Jump Shots, NCAA Tournament Edition: Michigan State vs. Oklahoma Preview

Michigan-State-Spartans-Logo-jpgLast Sunday, the Michigan State Spartans won another slugfest against the Virginia Cavaliers to advance to the Sweet 16 for the third year in a row.

Waiting for them are another top seed, the Oklahoma Sooners, who have had an excellent season and might quietly have the best team the Big 12 conference put into the tournament. Oklahoma has plenty of elite players few of which many in the Midwest will know about.

The Spartans certainly have taken notice, and in order to continue a charmed run through the NCAA tournament and make amends for falling short of a Final Four goal last season, will have to upend a quick squad bent on running them right out of the Carrier Dome. Continue reading

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Detroit Red Wings Should Ride Goaltender Petr Mrazek, Not Jimmy Howard, Into Playoffs

Petr Mrazek has earned the benefit of the doubt, and should be the Red Wings' starter over Jimmy Howard. (douglasgallery30, Flickr)

Petr Mrazek has earned the benefit of the doubt, and should be the Red Wings’ starter over Jimmy Howard. (douglasgallery30, Flickr)

The Detroit Red Wings haven’t been setting the world on fire down the stretch lately, and that has plenty to do with many elements including the goaltending of Jimmy Howard.

Howard has started the last three games, and two have been ugly Detroit losses. Over that stretch, he’s given up nine goals. Against the Arizona Coyotes, a team challenged for offense, Howard surrendered five, including the eventual winner in overtime.

When backup Petr Mrazek last started a week ago, he gave up three goals in a tough loss to the Florida Panthers, but had previously slammed the door on the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road in a hostile environment despite facing a barrage of shots. Continue reading

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Michigan State Basketball is Lucky to Have Tom Izzo at the Helm

Tom Izzo's tenure in East Lansing has been special, and it's only getting better. (hilaryhiggins, Flickr)

Tom Izzo’s tenure in East Lansing has been special, and it’s only getting better. (hilaryhiggins, Flickr)

You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

How many times has that phrase been uttered in life only to go completely ignored or not accurately comprehended or appreciated? Plenty of times in my life, to this point, I’ll certainly admit.

Not often does it directly apply within sports, but the Michigan State Spartans and their followers, and arguably even the state of Michigan as a whole is entering that phase right now with Tom Izzo.

Izzo and his Spartans managed to fight their way through the second and third rounds of the NCAA tournament this past weekend to make the Sweet 16, and the statistics are gaudy. The coach is now 13-1 in the round of 32. Continue reading

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Spartan Jump Shots, NCAA Tournament Edition: Michigan State vs. Virginia Preview

Michigan-State-Spartans-Logo-jpgDespite leading most of the way and even seeming to flex their muscle at times, the Michigan State Spartans had a very interesting finish against the Georgia Bulldogs, nearly collapsing down the stretch to lose the game.

The Spartans hung together despite the odds, however, winning the contest and advancing to meet the Virginia Cavaliers in a rematch of last year’s tournament. The Spartans won by one point, but will find nearly the same, extra motivated group of Cavaliers this time around. Continue reading

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Spartan Jump Shots, NCAA Tournament Edition: Georgia vs. Michigan State Preview

Michigan-State-Spartans-Logo-jpgThe Michigan State Spartans were crushed, losing in overtime to the Wisconsin Badgers to be defeated in the Big Ten championship game. Michigan State rebounded later Sunday night to grab a seven seed, however, and will face the upset minded Georgia Bulldogs in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Georgia made it into the tournament despite a fairly average year, and arguably, their biggest talking-point was the fact that they played the Kentucky Wildcats the toughest out of any team in the SEC. Despite this, they should have plenty of motivation and the athletes to give Michigan State a fit. Continue reading

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Detroit Red Wings May Have Found Their Brad Stuart in Marek Zidlicky

The addition of Marek Zidlicky has fortified the Red Wings' blue line almost like the addition of Brad Stuart in 2008. (the_mel, Flickr)

The addition of Marek Zidlicky has fortified the Red Wings’ blue line almost like the addition of Brad Stuart in 2008. (the_mel, Flickr)

All the way back in 2008, nobody knew for sure if the Detroit Red Wings could win the Stanley Cup. They had come close to doing so during their run in 2007, but fallen apart down the stretch.

The 2008 team was solid throughout, but had one notable hole on the blue-line. They lacked a physical, tough defenseman who could be an eraser against some of the opposition’s best players and play confident defense in his own zone. Continue reading

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