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Friday, May 31, 2013


(Part Ten of a Ten-Part Series)

We have extensively reviewed the MSU and UM Men's Basketball teams as we enjoy the off-season, and now it's time to tie it all up together. After looking very closely at nine different measurable factors, let's add up the results to put it all into perspective.

Here are the categories we've reviewed, along with the comparative results between the two teams. Each category heading is linked to the associated post detail:

TEAM BALANCE:  The Spartans have excellent balance throughout their roster, with players from at least three classes expected to be heavy contributors, and players at the same position spread amongst all the class-levels. Advantage MSU

POINT GUARDS:  The Spartans have three returning point-guards who played 100% of the position minutes, while UM loses their point-guard and will rely on a freshman to lead their team. Advantage MSU

SHOOTING GUARDS:  It's a close call between Gary Harris and whomever may play shooting-guard for UM, but no Wolverine surpasses Harris. Advantage MSU

SMALL FORWARDS:  Another close call between Branden Dawson and the several players who may play against him, but Dawson has size and experience and productivity on his side of the equation. Advantage MSU

POWER FORWARDS:  Adreian Payne wins any possible match-up at power-forward. Advantage MSU

CENTERS:  We give Mitch McGary the nod over Matt Costello at Center, but it may be closer than many people think by next winter. However, Horford and Morgan are the most experienced big men on either team. Advantage UM

BENCH STRENGTH:  With more than a dozen players coming off the bench, six of them freshmen who haven't played yet, it's hard to get a line on this category. It looks pretty even. DRAW

EXPERIENCE:  The Spartans return much more experience than most teams, including UM. Advantage MSU

PERFORMANCE STATISTICS:  Michigan State returns about 80% or more in most statistical categories, while Michigan loses around 50% of almost everything. Advantage MSU

Using these nine categories, MSU leads 7-to-1 with a draw. Two areas were quite close, as UM brings viable players to Center and the two Forward positions. Just one or two untimely injuries for the Spartans and this comparison could become 5-3 or even  4-4. (And we've certainly seen such injuries in the past, especially during the off-season.) But Michigan is more vulnerable to such a mishap, as they could ill afford to lose one of their big three sophomores or either of their top freshmen.

And that's the whole answer in a nutshell. For Michigan to do very well next year, they need at least two freshmen to have excellent seasons, along with one or two veterans showing a major jump in performance factors. That could all happen, but frankly, without it they have little chance of getting any trophies next season. Without two all-star freshmen and multiple candidates for the team "Most Improved Player" award, the Wolverines will be respectable and will probably cap-out at around 20 wins. An injury or two for them to contend with could mean bubble-status.

Turns out the rampant over-rankings of Michigan seem to have cooled off. After a multitude of Top Five preseason picks right after their five-game win streak, they may have started to find their own (lower) level in the minds of sports geeks everywhere. That's fine either way, I really don't care that much about rankings in the sport that has the best playoff system at the college level. Just wanted to point out a few things from our perspective in order to balance out the picture.

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  1. SM82 - Bonus Part 11: Parting member of coaching staff comparison...

  2. I absolutely love this site! I've been using it for about a year now in order to keep up to date with MSU Athletics, and I'd just like to say, THANK YOU! However, I am a little disturbed by the many postings on here comparing MSU to UofM. It seems quite obsessive, and as a HUGE Spartan fan (as I know you are as well), I don't think it looks well when Spartan fans are constantly comparing themselves to Wolverines. We are two separate programs, and we absolutely don't need them as a measuring stick of our success. Its an inferiority complex that those chUMps have instilled in our fan base for years, and I would like to see us overcome that. Thanks again for your great work, and GO GREEN!

  3. What happens if MSU and Michigan split the season series again this year? It seems like, from this comparison, that MSU should beat Michigan both times pretty easily. Also, MSU is most definitely the front runner to win the B1G this year, but who do you see as the biggest competitor to steal the regular season title away from MSU? My guess would be either OSU or Michigan. IU and Wisconsin don't seem as strong this year as they were last year.


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