Maui Classic preview!

#28 R.P.I.  Magic Johnson State vs#117 R.P.I. Virginia Tech: 

Virginia Tech men’s basketball sojourns a mere: 4,604 total miles for this one. Whereas Michigan State travels -pardon the hooping pun- a less spartan looking 4,346 total miles for this one. Shew!

The Hokies are perfect (5-o) the Spartans check-in at 3 up and 1 down on the year. A year in which numerous publications and polls alike opened them as a semi-consensus #1 only three weeks ago; mind yah. As these Spartans are loaded for bear. A Final-IV or bust beast. Maybe even a grizzly enough season with a fair to middling shot at winning it March Madness all? Tho’ that’s me yet again putting the cart before the horse. As what you wanna know is… who is gonna win this one and by how much? Read on; to find… out!

Michigan State Head Coach: Tom Izzo: age=64, 6o6-232 overall and at M.S.U. Has a rep’ for: backcourt play, toughness and board-work(s)

Baller Izzo was born and raised in Iron Mountain in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In his hometown, he met best friend and former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci. Both he and his friend attended Iron Mountain High where they were teammates on the football, basketball and track teams. At Northern Michigan University in Marquette, where they were roommates, Izzo played guard for the men’s basketball team from 1973 to 1977. In his senior season, he set a school record for minutes played and was named a Division II All-American

Coach Izzo is an American college basketball coach who has been the head coach at Michigan State University since 1995. On April 4, 2016, Izzo was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Under Izzo, Michigan State has been a successful collegiate basketball program, earning him the nickname of “Mr. March” by some on account of his past success in the NCAA Tournament. Izzo has led the Spartans to the 2000 NCAA Division I National Championship, the 2009 NCAA National Championship Game, eight Final Fours, nine Big Ten championships, and six Big Ten Tournament championships in his 24 years at Michigan State. The coach with the most wins in school history, Izzo’s teams have earned invitations to 22 consecutive NCAA tournaments, in addition to setting the Big Ten record for the longest home winning streak. These accomplishments led analyst Andy Katz at ESPN to deem Michigan State the top college basketball program for the decade from 1998 to 2007.


Izzo is currently the longest-tenured coach in the Big Ten Conference, and his teams are often recognized for their rebounding prowess and defensive tenacity. Coach Izzo maintains a considerable coaching tree—several of his former assistants are currently head coaches at other Division I schools. Izzo has won nine regular-season conference titles, tied for the third-most in conference history. He has also won the most Big Ten Tournament titles (six) in conference history. Izzo is second all-time in Big Ten wins (288 through 2019), trailing only Bob Knight.

Big Whistle Tom has only been to the post-season 100% of the time, he only wears one National Championship bling (2000) and he only has six National and three Conference Coach of the Year Awards (go, fig’).

Izzo is famed for his “war” rebounding drill, in which the players wear football helmets and shoulder pads. His motto is “Players Play – Tough Players Win“. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Tom has sired not less than two N.f.l. starters!

Daddy Izzo has been married to his wife, Lupe Marinez Izzo, since 1992.
They have a daughter, Raquel, and an adopted son, Steven.
(God bless and great on them!)

State at a glance:

  • 3rd in assists per game!!!
  • 11th in FG percentage D allowed!
  • 19th fewest Turnovers per game.
  • 47th in scoring O.
  • 57th in swats.
  • 71st in FG percentage O.
  • 282nd in 3-point makes, (don’t shoot the average amount of 3’s; either).

State Returning Starters=2

Michigan State Strengths:

  • One #5, Cassius Winston: stud. Studly. Studded. As this One or Pt.Guard kid is viewed by virtually all of my pre-season mags as being legit. Maybe even first-best legit as One’s go nationwide to give you some perspective. As it is entirely possible we won’t see a better Pt.Guard all season long. The word here reads: ‘Cassius fields a very high basketball I.Q., one that ranks among the best of the Izzo era. Winston has great passing ability and exceptional vision combined with very solid on the ball tradecraft skills. A talented Point’ who can put points on the board in bunches (alpha scorer=17.5 ppg), even if he does look to get his teammates involved first (7.o apg) or early on. That and Winston has slowly yet surely as become a better defender (1.5 swipes with 2.5 caroms) during his career. Cee.Dub was the Big-10’s Player of the Year last year. He is only listed as Lindy’s Player of the Year (pre-season) for this year. Their Playmaker of the Year and their Top Shooter for this Year. This (6′1″, 190 lb., final year) kid sucks; he could not wash our jocks; cut him, now! Although you would also be cutting the 2016 Hal Schram Michigan Mr. Basketball Award winner. The USAToday and Gatorade Michigan Players of the Year award winner. A 58% high-school shooter, a senior year state champ’ and ESPN’s no.31st ranked scholastic kid. Winston has a history of right-knee dings and his shooting is actually off by nearly 7% thus far this campaign. Tho’ that’s all the neg’s I could find. As 81% FTA’s and 38% long-ball is not half bad work if you can D-1 power conference get it. That and in just a few months’ time… this Winston won’t be evacuating much of anything; as this Winston is gonna be Churchill, nouveau riche.
  • Xavier Tillman is a 6′8″, 247 lb., is a hard-ass looking Power-Forward with the emphasis on the power as this is a high voltage type baller indeed. Tough cover down low on the low-blocks. Well, other than the fact that he did not look it to me in breaking tape. As X’ puts on some pre-game warm-up dunk freak-out routines and seems more like frequent flyer miles to me. As this kid is a soarer and a scorer (12 ppg) and he is the alpha in Windex work (9.7 rpg) if you need him. Now mix in a block on 49% shooting and the only thing Tillman wants for is range on his J: (11% behind the arc). The tag here says: he put in a strong summer and off-season; he has great hands and is an excellent passer out of the post (3.2 dimes). X’ is also said to be a very good paint defender. As this third-year ESPN no.74 overall baller strikes me as a Pro’, just not sure if that’s code for domestic or exported dollars? (and oh yes, momma-bear you ask? Well, momma-bear is only archrival Michigan’s all-time rebounding leader! So, the (she) Human Genome Project is most wiling, indeed.

    Loquacious… in a, word!
  • 6′6″, 210 lb., Thee or S/F Aaron Henry is your third-leading scorer (11.3 ppg) and a ringer of a dead-eye shooter from 3-point land (50%). Seriously, Henry’s range is the gym itself, if he’s in it he’s, open! Aaron is a utility guy after that, who has worked on his handles and become a strong enough finisher to keep you honest enough off the dribble. He is also State’s best perimeter defender (1.8 spg) and he merely industrializes a whopping 6′10″ wingspan out on the edge; geez!

M.S.U. Weaknesses:

  • They got beat in game one by no.2 Kentucky (62-69).
  • 3 starters are gonzo; taking with them 30 ppg and 14 rpg.
  • ^those^ 3-starters also took ~85 mpg with them, so experience is a smidge low here.
  • M.S.U. may or may not have team-wide newer/deeper 3-point line range (29%); maybe?
  • (makes you wonder if they will see their one-hole opponent again in the final run of the year?
  • That, and approx. 350 other D-1 men’s hoops clubs would love to have Michigan State’s… problems.

Spartan Bench: (depth=6 deep, sometimes mo’ like 8 or 9!)

Marcus Bingham Jr. goes 6′11″, 226 sophomoric lbs., and he antes up 6.5 ppg, on 4.9 rpg with 47% off the pine. The vibes say Bingham worked hard in the summer to make gains in the weight room and is expected to see a more expanded role in the frontcourt for such. Marcus is a modern era stretch-F who can handle the rock and play in space. He also has a mammoth 7′4″ wingspan— the longest on the team. As his height and length make him pretty dang effective around the basket.

6′2″, 185 lb., Rocket ‘epic name’ Watts! This wattage is your backcourt reliever with: 6.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, and a pretty decent 3 apg. What he is not is a pure shooter, however, as his 23% from the floor and 17% when dialing long-distance ineloquently testify. Rocket is a nugget or rookie season voter; he is a strong looking cut-up kid on tape. He has a rep’ for competitive toughness and being able to play up to three positions per said toughness. Interestingly enuff… Watts was listed as one of my pre-season mag’s as the Big-10’s best shooter! So, I have to presume he is due to break outta this early/debuting slump from distance. As ESPN no.27 kids tend to be pretty dang good and he sure did put up some lofty high-scoring scholastic numbers as more of a lead-G last year.

The key to upsetting the possible end-of-year no.1 here is, what(s)???

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Illationconclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of Staters who could Spartan @Tech=8.

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is… Jay Vincent and Greg Kesler may just be in for a ‘magical’ season… IF, this oversized One or Pt.Guard outta East Lansing with a more than oversized prestidigitation type of smile is the real deal

Nevertheless, there is some ‘hick’ over in French Lick who just might want a word with this preview; or three…


Oh wait… Magic went ‘showtime’ and Larry Legend went Beantown and together they saved the Association from itself like nobody else? Indeed. And they are your 1 or 1a all-around ballers of all-time. Take thy pick… tho’ I’ma listening to the Audubon Society a little minute after that electrifying triune ESPN Finals special last summer.


Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is calling for; nothing, until conference play.

The annualized year-to-date vitals say that… V.Tech is actually up 1 whole percent in shooting percentage margin thus far (with O and D being nearly even); V.Tech is also up a mind-numbing 17% overall in 3-point percentage margin so far (with VT being better on O and D each, tho’ in particular being better at netting the 3); with State up just +2 boards and in rebounding margin. (w0w!)

The most recent 5-game metrics say that… we should ask back after game no.6. Or, we could ask Larry Bird on his way to the magical meeting in 1979 when he single-handily put an end to Dale Solomon’s, Les Henson’s and Wayne Robinson’s pretty dang tight O&M frontcourt stellar post-season; 86-69, if you need him…

M.S.U. is up 2.5% at the charity stripe for the year.

  1. The Hokies haven’t played in the Maui Invitational since 1985, while this is the Spartans’ fifth appearance in the tournament, including winning the title in 1991.
  2. Virginia Tech connected on a school- and A.c.c.-record 21 3-pointers in its win over Delaware State, including five by Alleyne.
  3. The winner of this game will take on either Dayton or Georgia in the semifinals on Tuesday.
  4. Izzo teams have a rep’/knack for winning in-season made for Telly Tourneys. (I’ma jus’, sayin’…)
  5. And clearly the Maui suits want Michigan St. vs. Kansas for their grand finale.
  6. (with no word yet from Ralph Sampson and… Chaminade!)

The Spartans are actually +2 on R&R here and that’s pretty dang big with all the Big Island type distractions and over 8,ooo miles worth of jetlag or desynchronosis combined here.

That, and the one thing I know about truly virginal foreign gyms is that I don’t know anything about virginal (1st-time entry) foreign gyms.

5 PM kick-off!

One team says it’s a shooter’s gym and the rims are forgiving, if not outright lose. The other team says the rings are tight and the gym is dark:30% cold.

Go fig’ here? As we will all get a better Hokie and Maui round #2 gymnasium and opponent feel alike next time out.

So, and in lieu of us/VeeTee finding this gym to be very user-friendly from range? (which the 3-point margin up above does speak to… mind yah)

I just do not see this as a good match-up. Not at all— as team Izzo is gonna be an extremely tough cover Three through Five for us. Whereas all that wingspan listed up above seems rather foreboding in terms of smothering our outside shooters from deep.

That, and methinks Izzo is sharp enough to make someone not named Nolley and/or Alleyne beat him here. As his defense will live in their, shirts’.

Accordingly, Earvin is all smiles, Dale Solomon and Larry Bird?
Not; so, much.

(82% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech
=63, Michigan State=77




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