America’s High Five was locked out of the Final Four, as both Michigan State and Michigan fell in the Elite 8. And while each team lost for very different reasons, it was peculiar that both games came down to the other team scoring three points after the defense forced a contested heave from 23 feet.
Upset. Frustrated. Disappointed. Those are some tough words to describe a 22-year-old kid.
Michigan State honored its three seniors, including Keith Appling and Adreian Payne, following Thursday night’s 86-76 win over Iowa. The senior class has helped lead the Spartans to a Big Ten championship, two Sweet 16 appearances, and a fourth NCAA bid on the way this season.
It is no secret that Tom Izzo’s Michigan State team has battled through plenty of injuries this season. MSU senior point guard Keith Appling is one of those players, who is playing through a wrist injury, which he suffered in early December and re-aggravated against Indiana on Jan.21.
If you ever wondered if a player could pick up his dribble from outside the 3-point arc and get to the hoop for a layup without being called for traveling, he can. Keith Appling did it in Tuesday night’s overtime win at Iowa, and the no-call didn’t sit well with Iowa fans or Fran McCaffery; in fact, McCaffery was hit with a technical foul. ESPN commentator Jay Bilas said this about the play: “It’s hard to believe, but I think that would have been a walk in the NBA.”
The weekend is officially here. So that means it’s time for my weekly survey of seven Big Ten hoops writers. This week’s question: Who is the Big Ten’s most underrated player? Check out the responses. No consensus, but some interesting responses.
With one-third of the conference schedule in the books, it’s time to take an early look at some of the leading candidates for the Big Ten’s top end-of-the-year awards. See my top 3 players for Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year in this post.
The Big Ten basketball season is approaching the midway point and the conference picture is beginning to take form. Michigan (5-0) and Michigan State (7-0) are the only remaining unbeaten teams in the Big Ten, while Iowa is close behind at 4-1 and climbing up the national rankings. So, we ask, who is the best team in the Big Ten at this point?
Toughness. It’s needed in any sport to be successful. And there are many definitions of toughness, which is displayed in various ways. Show me a successful team—and I’ll show you a tough team. Knowing that, I asked some writers who cover Big Ten hoops teams who they felt is the “toughest” player in the conference.
If you’re on Twitter, you can vote in our ongoing series of Big Ten Twitter polls for our weekday TV show #BTNLive weekdays at 6 p.m. ET. On tonight’s #BTNLive show, our experts discuss this question: Who is the mid-season Big Ten Men’s Basketball MVP? Our candidates for this poll: Keith Appling (#BTNAppling), Sam Dekker (#BTNDekker), Roy Devyn Marble (#BTNMarble), Nik Stauskas (#BTNStauskas), or Aaron Craft (#BTNCraft).
BTN contributor Mike DeCourcy and Sporting News coworker Ryan Fagan recently teamed up to create their midseason All-American Teams. Two Big Ten stars, both point guards, earned recognition, as Michigan State’s Keith Appling landed on the second team and Ohio State’s Aaron Craft found a spot on the third team. See what they say about both players in this post.
Assembly Hall will host two of the best point guards in the Big Ten Saturday, as Keith Appling leads his fourth-ranked Michigan State Spartans (12-1, 1-0) into Bloomington against Yogi Ferrell and the Indiana Hoosiers (10-4, 0-1).
Michigan survived a tough test against Florida State, a team whom not many thought much of coming into the season. This was, after all, a bad team last year that was losing its best player in Michael Snaer. But sometimes, weird things happen. In the Seminoles’ case, the player wearing the #30 jersey is clearly someone pretending to be Ian Miller.
Michigan State’s Keith Appling must be sick of hearing about how great teammates Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne are at dunking, because the point guard threw down his second ridiculous jam in as many games Friday night. Last week, it was this powerful beauty. Appling’s latest dunk may have been even better, as he drove the lane, again, and, this time, posertized Iowa’s Melsahn Basbabe. Watch the dunk here and see Twitter reaction to it in this post.
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Indiana won the Big Ten championship outright by about half a Newton, as Jordan Morgan’s tip-in attempt was a hair too strong, allowing Indiana to complete a road comeback and dulling the festivities of the rest of the weekend. After a sluggish first half that ended with Michigan leading 33-30 (33 possessions), the two teams combined for 80 points in the second half (32 possessions). However, despite the fact that these two teams played a back-and-forth battle, I think the result raises more concerns about Michigan than Indiana.
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It was a terrible shooting weekend for the title contenders. Collectively, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Michigan were 14 for 76 from three this weekend. Two of those teams nonetheless found a way to win.
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Yes, the object in basketball is score. You need athletes, shooters, passers and rebounders. But good teams also possess toughness.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana held serve against Michigan State to move into a tie with Michigan atop the Big Ten standings. Normally, I’d use this opportunity to point out that although Indiana won by 5, the outcome actually suggests that Michigan State is the better team. But I don’t think that’s true here, because Indiana was equal to or better than the Spartans in all but one category—three-point shooting. MSU made 11 of its 23 attempts from behind the three-point line, and I’ll go ahead and call that an aberration.
BTN.com’s Brent Yarina is unveiling his 2012-13 preseason Big Ten Player Rankings one by one. The countdown goes in reverse order, of course, and each installment includes player stats and one video highlight from last season. Once the season starts, Yarina will release a weekly Player Rankings every Monday. Up next: Michigan State’s Keith Appling.
Aaron Craft is a very good defensive player. Let’s get that out of the way. Whatever you think of the next few paragraphs, remember that we all agree that Craft’s defense would improve just about any collegiate basketball team.
With Keith Appling draped all over him, William Buford hit an absolute dagger of a shot to help Ohio State down Michigan State and ensure a three-way tie atop the Big Ten conference for the season. While that makes banner manufacturers very happy, it was not the result the Spartans were expecting after they found themselves up by 9 after the first half. Ohio State won this game by keeping MSU off the glass, getting to the free throw line, and by the excellent work by whoever had the job of talking Buford into coming back to school every May. With Jared Sullinger largely ineffective, Buford put the Buckeyes on his back, carrying them with 25 points on 14 shots.
With an amazing 43-point performance from Brandon Paul, Illinois shocked Ohio State in Champaign. Coming in, this looked like a game that the Illini might hope to keep close with their defense, but it seemed unlikely that Bruce Weber’s struggling offense would be able to scrape together enough points against the nation’s top defense. That analysis went out the window once Paul got rolling.
For now, football is in my rear view window and the road for me ahead has plenty of Big Ten hoops. In my first installment of my Big Ten Three-Pointers, my aim is to fire up 3-pointers from around the Big Ten as I look back at the previous week’s news and then ahead to what’s coming. Ready, set, shoot …
Wisconsin and Michigan State squared off last night in a game that will not help the Big Ten’s national image. Via a combination of slow pace, good defense, and missed shots that both teams would normally make, the Spartans and Badgers labored for points. It took Michigan State over 13 minutes of game time to break into double digits–and even then they were only down two points. Wisconsin’s shooting nightmare that began against Iowa persisted, and it truly looked like the first team to 50 would win.
Tim Hardaway’s son may star in Ann Arbor, but there’s a point guard in East Lansing who can cross it over well enough to make the elder Hardaway smile. Michigan State’ Keith Appling showed off his killer crossover in Tuesday’s thrilling victory at Wisconsin, and he didn’t need the usually required two hands, either. Appling used his left hand only to break ankles and drop jaws – although some people will argue it was a travel. To make the crossover even better, Appling parlayed the move into a driving layup. Watch the move and bucket now.