Monday, February 25, 2008

Above the fold - Detroit sports weekend in review

Michigan and Michigan State basketball: Both teams are playing good ball, as Sparty and the Wolverines won this weekend.

On a day Jalen Rose was honored by the university, the Wolverines beat the Illini 49-43. As always, UMHoops has the breakdown.

A win is a win and Michigan has to learn how to win the tough ones like this because they aren’t all going to be easy. But man I hope we can start hitting some shots. There were ALOT of wide open shots today and very few of them went down. Good physical gutty effort. Another note, saw Jordan Morgan was there, not sure if any other recruits were in the house.
The Wolverines suddenly have the look of a team that could spoil someone's Big 10 tournament. They are a long ways from being a contender, but this is the first time since well before the Tommy Amaker era where Michigan has IMPROVED as the season progressed. Amaker's teams were never playing well going into March, while John Beilein has the Wolverines playing their best ball of the season. It's nice to see...

Michigan State is finally back on track, thumping the Hawkeyes 66-52. The game was over early, as Iowa didn't get their first field goal till nearly 10 minutes into the 1st half. Spartan Weblog has the scoop, while bringing up a big milestone for Tom Izzo.

Big picture stat: Tom Izzo now has 300 wins in 13 seasons. That’s 23 wins per season. Prior to Izzo’s tenure, Michigan State had a total of just 8 seasons in which they reached 20 wins, let alone averaged that number. So three cheers for Tom Izzo–the greatest single figure in the 100+ year history of Michigan State basketball.

23 wins a season? Wow! We tend to take Izzo, along with MSU making the NCAA's every season, for granted. He's an elite coach who has built a monster program in East Lansing.

Detroit Red Wings: Another game, another loss. The latest being 4-1 to Vancouver, though the Wings did not embarrass themselves. They are just running out of healthy bodies. When you add being extremely shorthanded to a road trip to places well west, it equals a struggling Red Wings team that is 2-7-1 in their last 10 games.

There's no panic from the fanbase, for a few reasons. The Red Wings had built a huge cushion in the standings before players started dropping like so many flies, and it's come in handy. Their division lead is still very safe. The Stars are only 6 points back of the Wings for the West's best overall record, but Detroit has 2 games in hand. To be honest, who really cares if the Red Wings are seeded 1st or 2nd? I just want them healthy.

As for other reasons not to worry? No injury has been of the "out for the season" sort, so the Wings should be at full strength going into the playoffs. And there is a HUGE amount of confidence in the GM skills of Ken Holland, in that he'll make the appropriate moves.

Not that Holland's genius has stopped bloggers from voicing their opinion as to what the Wings should do by tomorrow's trade deadline.

Yzerman is God has debuted his "Deadline manifesto," a post of epic length, and with several ideas as to trade options. Here's just one of MANY.

My Favorite
Hudler, and a 2nd for Antropov
-honestly, I have no idea what Hudler or Antropov's market value is. This is a guess, but I really think Antropov would be an awesome addition.

To Pete's credit, the deals he proposes aren't of the crackpot sort you see on message boards and hear on sports talk radio. There is actual thought and reasoning put into the various deals. An amazing post.

On the flip side, you have Hockeytown Todd, who thinks...Well, I'll let HT Todd say it in his own inimitable way...

Wings should stand pat

Pass out some temporary "A's" until our top 4 defensemen return.
Last night proved no worries on D (I told you so).
Offense will always struggle against hot goaltending, that is just hockey.

(what you have is the envy of the entire NHL)

In other words, leave Brittany the Red Wings alone!

We'll know in a little more than 24 hours whose advice Holland took.

Detroit Pistons: The Pistons treated Shaq and the Phoenix Suns to a nationally televised spanking Sunday, 116-86. If the Suns are one of the teams to beat in the west, then the Pistons and Celtics are licking their chops anticipating the NBA Finals.

Oh yeah, on Friday night, they destroyed the Bucks, 127-100.

What more is there to say about the Pistons? After losing their first 2 games coming out of the All-Star break, they've found their stride again, and are 12-2 in their last 14 games. The young bench is coming around nicely, while getting plenty of PT, the starters aren't playing an excessive amount of minutes, and there are no injuries to speak of. //knock on wood// The Pistons are on cruise control, waiting for the playoffs to start.

They can't come soon enough.

Detroit Tigers: Spring training is officially under way, and there hasn't been much news to speak of, save for Fernando Rodney's balky shoulder.

There was one story of note. It was announced that Pudge Rodriguez gracefully went to Jim Leyland, and said he'd be fine with batting 8th in the order. Well, as gracefully as a once great, now aging, superstar could be, considering he should have been bating 8th or 9th in the lineup for the past 2 seasons, but thanks to a manager quite aware of his (former) superstar's massive ego couldn't have handled it, remained higher than he should have been in the batting order.

At The Detroit Tigers Weblog, Billfer took a look at various lineup possibilities with his jaundiced eye, hoping to determine where in the order Pudge should be batting, 8th or 9th. His conclusion? It doesn't make a damn bit of difference.

Essentially it makes very little difference how those remaining spots shake out. That’s not to say there aren’t some things Leyland is likely considering. With Pudge batting 8th, it means that he’ll have back to back left handers in either the 6-7 positions for 9-1 positions. My guess is that Jones bats 7th because Carlos Guillen’s ability to switch hit will prevent an opposing manager from doubling up with a left hand reliever. Plus Leyland frequently batted Guillen and Casey back to back last year. Conversely, Marcus Thames coming off the bench could provide such a deterrent in a 9-1 scenario as well.

As long as Pudge's under .300 OBP ass is lower than 7th in he order, I'm cool.

Detroit Lions:
There's this other blog I know of where you can get a whole lot of Lions snark, and a little bit of analysis.

The only real Lions news from the scouting combine surrounds Shaun Rogers, and, not if, but when the fat ass will be traded. The ideal trade, as Pride of Detroit says, would be for the Jets' middle linebacker, Johnathan Vilma, who appears to be on the outs in New York.

If I had to predict where Rogers would end up, my bet would be in New York as a Jet for a couple reasons. The first and biggest reason is that a trade with the Jets just makes sense. NY is looking for a 3-4 defensive tackle, and Rogers would fit that role pretty well. At the same time, a trade with the Jets is a strong possibility because middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma is on the trading block, and he is a perfect fit for the Lions.

The trade makes so much sense for both sides, so if you go by Lions logic, it probably won't happen. Which means Matt Millen will end up getting a 4th round draft pick in trade for a Pro Bowl caliber player. That pick will then be cut during training camp.

That's "Above the Fold" for Monday, 2-25-08!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Big AL, thanks for the link..
    Still hoping sanity rules...
    I'm not even going to think about posting until after the deadline.

    Ignore the trade rumors, and wannabe GM's. The Wings are not the best in the league because of weak scoring, fragile defense, and sporadic, streaky ancient netminding.