Monday, March 05, 2007

MSU And U-M More Equal Than Separate

I understand the dynamics of it. Michigan is a senior-laden team and Michigan State is rebuilding. I understand that MSU’s non-conference schedule was a little stronger than Michigan’s. But, honestly, were the Spartans that much better than the Wolverines this season? So much better that MSU is an apparent lock for an NCAA tournament bid while the Wolverines figure to be on the outside looking in? They each had the same conference record. Both were awful on the road. The two teams split their meetings during the season. Michigan State won one more game overall. They both hit the 20-win mark.
There was a lot of whining from Michigan State fans last week after the Spartans lost to Michigan. About how the team was rundown because of sickness, and how the loss, really, didn’t mean much. In truth, all the Spartans presented for the loss were excuses. They didn’t suck it up the way Tom Izzo’s teams usually do. The Spartans did not show up. The result was a defeat that makes Michigan’s resume appear nearly as impressive as the Spartans at this late point. State had a chance to crush U-M. The Spartans did not do it. They showed no killer instinct. Shame on so many of Michigan State’s faithful for not being honest about it. They almost sound like Wolverine football fans and their moaning after one of Michigan’s inexplicable poor efforts in an important late-season game.

Random Thoughts

- Henrik’s Zetterberg’s injury may be a blessing in disguise. It will make certain he is rested for the playoffs. It may also insure the Red Wings do not face Calgary in the opening round as opposed to, say, Dallas. In my opinion, the Stars would be the Red Wings ideal opponent during the opening round.

- Dewayne White is a decent player, but isn’t an upgrade from what James Hall presented to the Lions at defensive end, at least up until last season when he was injured. The Lions need speed off the edge. They need somebody who can get to the quarterback. They still don’t have that player because White is not it. The Lions also badly need a middle linebacker.

- A team a lot of people, like Peter Gammons, are gushing about is the Toronto Blue Jays. I know this is the era when teams kind of appear out of nowhere, but I still see the Blue Jays being a shade behind the Tigers, Twins, White Sox, Yankees and Red Sox in the American League. Want a sleeper? I like the Angels. I really like them if Bartolo Colon comes back strong. But that’s a big "If."

Note: Due to technical difficulties, I have not been able to respond to the comments left on this blog. I will, however, do so to each and every comment when the issue is corrected. Thanks for your patience and for supporting this blog.
- Pat Caputo

12 Comments:

Blogger ThinkingMan said...

Hi Pat,

As much as I like and respect Peter Gammons, I take a lot of what he says with a grain of salt. I think he gets oversold on certain players and teams. I think the Blue Jays will be a good team and will score plenty of runs. But beyond Halladay and BJ Ryan, what do they really have in terms of pitching? I think they will lose a lot of 8-6-type games.

12:27 PM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Good Evening Book,

Missing you on the radio this night. Though the bullpen is doing well in your stead.

Such an honest assessment of our State of Michigan's Big Ten teams is refreshing. Especially when the analysis is coming from someone with a sheepskin from the land grant U. Does anyone remember when three to five Division 1 schools Men's B-ball teams from Michigan would go to the dance? I'm sure it wasn't that long ago.

I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the Blue Jays are serious contenders and finish with around 90 wins, give or take three or four. I think even a Beantown backer like Mr. Gammons would like to see a chase in the AL East that involves more than teams wearing pinstipes or cerise hose. However, even with 90 wins those rude blue birds of the backyard feeder still finish, I Don't Know, third base, I mean place.

9:34 PM 
Anonymous Zac said...

Hey Pat,

I hate to see any injuries on the Wings roster, but I think it is agood for Zetterberg, Homer, Chelios and Hasek to get some rest down the stretch. I am thinking Datsyuk will get some time off and so will others. Maybe more than previous years, if we are really not that concerned with winning the division or Presidents' Trophy, which I believe we are not. Rest them up for the playoffs as much as possible. And Zetterberg possibly returning around the same time as Bertuzzi is a good thing.

Just wanted to add that I am glad that Scott Hartnell isn't playing tonight for Nashville. I can't stand him, and I think most Wings fans feel the same way.
Thanks,
Zac

6:52 AM 
Anonymous Paul Capalo said...

Hey Pat, I want you to write something someday about excuses versus explanations. You may be right about MSU against Michigan, it wasn't the flu, it was that they just didn't show up. But in general, it infuriates me when sports talking heads and coaches and players talk about not wanting to hear about "excuses" for losing. A couple years ago I recall State being down to their 7th and 8t string cornerbacks. That was not an excuse for losing; it was a 100%, ironclad, not debateball explanation for losing. A baseball team that loses 1 of 5 or 2 of 5 or 3 of 5 starting pitchers has a good explanation for a lousy season. Its not just giving "excuses" about why it lost.

Keep up the excellant work.

6:56 AM 
Anonymous Chief said...

El Libro, a correction in your column today. The Yankees won the pennant in 2003 and lost to Florida.

The Pedro, Grady Little, Aaron Boone game etc.

10:59 AM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I really don't think we can Blame Tommy A. for a missed dunk and free throws. At the same time the NCAA tournament Bid should have come down to having to win against OSU and having to sweep the Big Ten Tournament. there were several games that they should have one before that/these other games take place. Bottom line is Tommy A. has failed with his system and recruits. Nobody on this michigan team really got better and or stood out. Like a Neitzel in MSU or a Oden in OSU. These are a bunch of underacheivers at Michigan and all they are if the ygo to the NIT is the 65 or 66 best team. Yeah there facilities suck, but that is no excuse and I am tired of hearing about it.

Signing White is all fine and dandy. Personally I don't think he is a majaor upgrade over Hall. If Minnesota wants to give Kevin Curtis the world I'd say go for it. I would not match. I would love to have seen us get Patrick Kerney (but that is to late). They don't have much choice u'd think they make Nick Harper a top priority as well as a MLB. At the same time. If they played there cards right I think there is some talent to be had in this draft. I If we can make a couple extra trades. I'd like the Idea of getting a jamal anderson with the first pick. Maybe getting that kid from Central in the second or going after a David Harris. But there is some good MLB's out there. I just think Millen has this in such a mess each day goes by I think he is twisting it further in the ground.

As far as Gammons. I think Toronto could be a sleeper in the East. I think they are a bit Over rated. The teams I like as sleeprs if you are looking for some is the Brewers and Mariners.

11:08 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Thinkingman,
Well, Burnett - if he stays healthy. Gammons had a good piece in Baseball America recently about the durabilty of starting pitching. He does a good job, but like most people who come up with theories about things - myself included - he misses sometimes.
Caputo

2:55 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
Thanks for the compliment I will be back on WXYT Tuesday night. This is a great basketball state. You would think that not only would MSU and U-M be stronger, but the MAC schools and U-of-D, too.
Caputo

2:57 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Paul Capalo,
Hey, you stole my name (LOL). There is a thin line between reasons and excuses. In my opinion, the Spartans were using excuses for their loss to U-M. It was a big game. They didn't play like they approached it as a big game. But you're right, there are times when the reasons are legit.
Caputo

3:00 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Chief,
You're right. I got it wrong and I apologize for the oversight.
Caputo

3:01 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
I think U-M played well against Ohio State, but I am not sure you can't blame Amaker for some things. His team doesn't seem to come through at key times in games. That was another example. I agree - Kerney would have been a good fit for the Lions. But they will get a defensive end in the draft. Even if they don't take one in the first round, it is deep at that position. As many as 10 defensive ends could go in the first three rounds.
Caputo

3:06 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Zac,
If nothing else, we have learned the stretch run of the season means little. Having home ice advantage in the playoffs doesn't even mean that much - at least the way Red Wings fans kind of sit on their hands in recent years. I agree - the fresher those players are during the playoffs, the better. The Wings have done enough to have a decent spot - No. 1 seed or No. 4 seed in the playoffs. Now only the playoffs really matter.
Caputo

3:10 AM 

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