The Players, Games and Match-Ups to Watch For During This Week’s Big Ten Tournament

big-ten-logo-pentagramThe most exciting time of the year in the Midwest is the spring. Not only is the thaw invigorating, but the college basketball is as well when the Big Ten Tournament takes center stage in early March.

Wednesday, the games begin with a pair of first round match ups. From there, the games will only get more exciting as several teams desperate for resume building wins and better seeding will take stage. All told, the 2015 tournament should provide several of the big moments that have become commonplace throughout the years. Continue reading

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Breaking Down The Five Biggest Free Agency Departures in Detroit Sports History

Ben Wallace made headlines when he left the Pistons for the Chicago Bulls in free agency. (Guitar Zero, Flickr)

Ben Wallace made headlines when he left the Pistons for the Chicago Bulls in free agency. (Guitar Zero, Flickr)

Sunday, the Detroit Lions lost their biggest free agent in recent memory when Ndamukong Suh agreed to sign with the Miami Dolphins when the NFL’s free agency period gets underway on Tuesday.

The loss left a void in Detroit’s defensive line, but it also ushered in thoughts of the city’s other significant free agency losses. Interestlngly enough, in most past cases, the departures actually worked out to Detroit’s advantage, not tying teams down with big money deals or players who didn’t succeed after getting paid.

Since the contracts have gotten bigger and bigger in the last 10 years while the money has only gotten richer, what players have provided some of the most notable exits from the Motor City? What went in to their various departures, and what happened afterwards?

Here’s the five biggest cases to remember in the wake of the news from this past weekend. Continue reading

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Spartan Jump Shots, Hoosier Edition: Michigan State vs. Indiana Preview and Prediction

Michigan-State-Spartans-Logo-jpgThursday, the Michigan State Spartans likely emphatically punched their NCAA tournament ticket by besting the Purdue Boilermakers in the rough and tumble final game of the season at the Breslin Center.

Now, one last time, the Spartans hit the road, and their locale is a tough one. They must fight the Indiana Hoosiers, a team they thumped 70-50 this season. While Michigan State is playing for seeding both in the Big Ten tournament and elsewhere, the desperate Hoosiers could be playing for their bubble lives, rendering the last contest largely meaningless.

Spartan Jump Shots sets the tone for the final battle of the Big Ten’s regular season. Continue reading

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Spartan Jump Shots, Boilermaker Edition: Purdue vs. Michigan State Preview and Prediction

Michigan-State-Spartans-Logo-jpgSunday, unlike last Thursday against Minnesota, nobody was shocked when the Michigan State Spartans lost to the Wisconsin Badgers. Arguably, the only stunner was how the Spartans rallied to keep thing close in the end.

Now, the clock is ticking on Michigan State as they try to find the right combination of impactful wins to get into the NCAA tournament. They’ll have a chance to grab another when the Purdue Boilermakers come to town. Purdue and Michigan State are closely dueling in the standings, and the game matters for both the hope of both teams. Continue reading

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Detroit Red Wings Won Trade Deadline for Not Mortgaging Future While Improving Present

The Red Wings may have won the NHL trade deadline with acquisition of Erik Cole (above) and Marek Zidlicky. (douglasgallery30, Flickr)

The Red Wings may have won the NHL trade deadline with acquisition of Erik Cole (above) and Marek Zidlicky. (douglasgallery30, Flickr)

Ken Holland has been through plenty in his last four years on the job. He’s been in charge of trying to find the right ways to skillfully reinvent the Detroit Red Wings, who were caught in the midst of hockey purgatory.

Should the team, with an aging but not completely aged roster, rebuild and retool or restructure completely? The answer wasn’t obvious for stretches, and Holland sat on his hands for a long time. He took loads of flack. In hindsight, that might have been the smartest move. Continue reading

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Marek Zidlicky Traded to Detroit Red Wings for Conditional Third-Round Pick in 2016

detroit_red_wings_logoAs many expected, the Detroit Red Wings did add a defenseman before the trade deadline, however it wasn’t the one many folks expected it to be.

All morning long, Detroit appeared to be working on a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs for Dion Phaneuf which felt close to completion at times. When the sides couldn’t agree on the financials or other aspects of the deal, the Red Wings quickly moved on. Continue reading

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Detroit Red Wings Deal Two Prospects, Second Round Pick for Winger Erik Cole

detroit_red_wings_logoSunday night, the Detroit Red Wings decided they didn’t want to wait for Monday afternoon’s trade deadline to address at least one of their needs.

The Red Wings dealt defenseman Mattias Backman, center Mattias Janmark and a second-round pick to the Dallas Stars for forward Erik Cole and a third-round selection. Cole, 36, has scored 18 goals for the Stars this season, including one against Detroit not two weeks ago. Continue reading

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Spartan Jump Shots, Badger Edition: Michigan State vs. Wisconsin Preview and Prediction

Michigan-State-Spartans-Logo-jpgOn Thursday night, the Michigan State Spartans were abruptly stunned at home in overtime by the Minnesota Golden Gophers, ending their winning streak and injecting new fears of the tournament bubble.

The task doesn’t get any easier for the Spartans Sunday, as they must head to the Kohl Center in Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers. All season, Wisconsin has been the class of the entire league, and can wrap up the regular season title with a victory. Nothing would thrill Michigan State more than to ruin that plan. Continue reading

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