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. [ MORE: See Sporting News’ full midseason All-American teams ] SECOND TEAM: Keith Appling “The conventional wisdom that a player can’t truly convert from a natural scorer to a point guard is being blown away nightly by Appling, who has
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). [ MORE: Week in review: Who’s up and down in the Big Ten? ] This marks the third head-to-head meeting all-time between the two point guards, with Ferrell and the Hoosiers winning both games last season. Ferrell averaged 8.4 points and 4.5 assists, compared to averages of just 4.5 points and one assist by Appling, who led the Spartans in scoring last season.
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. Throughout his career, Miller has been a so-so outside shooter with not much to contribute when inside the three-point line. This season, however, Miller is not only a deadeye outside shooter (44 percent on threes), but he’s been a
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. [ RELATED: Want to embed BTN.com video? Here’s how! ] Here’s a photo of Appling’s jam: And the Twitter reaction to the dunk: Ok.
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. Don’t get me wrong—this game was literally decided by the bounce of
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. Thanks to Trey Burke’s rip of Keith Appling in the final minute of play, Michigan was able to defend its home court against the Spartans. Although this was a hard fought game, neither team played particularly well on the offensive end. Michigan missed all 12 of its three-point attempts, while Michigan State managed to make just 41 percent of its two-pointers. Credit the defense if
Yes, the object in basketball is score. You need athletes, shooters, passers and rebounders. But good teams also possess toughness. You don’t have to be 6-10, 250 pounds to be tough. Nope, toughness comes in many shapes and sizes. I think back to some past Big Ten players who embodied what I felt was true toughness—players like Ohio State’s Chris Jent, Michigan’s Steve Grote, Michigan State’s Mateen Cleaves, Iowa’s Jess Settles and Purdue’s Jim Rowinski—among others. Those guys were bulldogs who gave no quarter while on the floor, true warriors. Who is the Big Ten’s toughest player? Using a rather
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. While IU’s perimeter defense isn’t exactly a strength (teams are more than willing
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. THE COUNTDOWN No. 10: Jared Berggren, Sr., Wisconsin No. 9: Branden Dawson, So., Michigan State Appling’s career stats: Per Game Team G GS MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TOPG PFPG FG% 3P% FT% 2010-11 MSU 34 18 22.9 6.4 2.8 1.3 0.6 0.5 1.6
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. But the sophomore guard just earned some hardware that bestowed loftier praise than just being “very good.” Indeed, it is the opinion of Big Ten coaches that Craft is the conference’s best defensive player. At the risk of dismissing the opinions of 12 men who know a lot about basketball, I think they got this one wrong. Measuring defense is not