Spartans Shoot the Lights out in Win Over Purdue

FEB 20 – Gary Harris and company hosted a shooting clinic in West Lafayette, Ind. on Thursday.

Michigan State started their game against Purdue on an unprecedented 11-14 streak from beyond the arc. Harris led the way for the Spartans with six three-pointers, finally breaking out of his shooting slump. He finished with 25 points, far surpassing his average of just over 13 points per game during his six-game shooting slump.

The Boilermakers hung tough for most of the game, especially when the Spartans came down to earth with their shooting in the second half. They capitalized on MSU’s lazy transition defense, turning missed threes into easy layups on the other end. But the Spartans were nearly unstoppable on the offensive end, eventually running away with a 94-79 victory.

Adreian Payne continued his stellar play after coming off a foot injury, tallying 23 points on 8-14 shooting. Keith Appling did not start, but logged heavy minutes. His right wrist is still bothering him, as he only took one shot. Appling played the role of facilitator, dishing out nine assists. MSU as a team shared the ball extremely well, with 26 assists on 30 shots.

Denzel Valentine and Travis Trice recovered nicely from their ugly game against Nebraska. Valentine had 16 points and five rebounds, and Trice had 14 points and six assists. They combined for five three-pointers on the night.

MSU made 17 three-pointers against Purdue, setting a school record and equaling the number of total field goals made in their game against the Cornhuskers.

The win gives the Spartans an 11-3 conference record, putting them a half game ahead of Michigan for tops in the Big Ten.

Michigan State heads to Ann Arbor on Sunday for a showdown with the Wolverines. Tip is set at 12:00 p.m. and the game can be seen on CBS.


Blake Froling is the co-host of Impact Izzone for Impact Sports.

Photo: David Defever/Impact Sports

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Road to the B1G Title Even Tougher with Loss to Nebraska

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FEB 17 – When Terry Braverman, the PA announcer at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center, announced the score of the Wisconsin vs. Michigan men’s basketball game, the crowd erupted. Bo Ryan and his squad did their job and dismantled Michigan in Ann Arbor.

All Michigan State had to do was beat a middle-of-the-pack team and they would sit alone atop the Big Ten.

But the Cornhuskers had other plans.

“They came in here and punched us in the mouth and we didn’t punch back,” MSU head coach Tom Izzo said in his postgame press conference.

Now MSU and U of M are tied for first place in the conference, each with a record of 10-3. The Spartans have a tougher schedule remaining than Michigan, so a win at home against Nebraska would have been huge. MSU travels to Purdue on Thursday, who is 4.5 games back in the conference and fresh off a win over Indiana. Then comes the showdown in Ann Arbor next Sunday.

Last year, the Wolverines edged the Spartans in Ann Arbor 58-57. Trey Burke had a dunk with 22 seconds left that gave Michigan a two-point lead. Derrick Nix went to the line with eight seconds left and split his free throws, leaving MSU behind by a point. U of M came into the Breslin Center earlier this year and toppled a wounded Spartan squad, 80-75.

Although Gary Harris led the team with 18 points, his shooting was off. He finished 5-15 from the field and an abysmal 1-7 from behind the arc. He has been in a funk for the past six games, shooting only 32.5 percent from the field and 24 percent from deep.

“He’s in here morning, noon and night shooting,” Izzo said. “I don’t know what you do. It’s not what I do, it’s what he does and all I can tell you is he’s working on it. We’re just going to keep going to him, because he is what he is.”

Harris has had to shoulder most of the scoring load with Adreian Payne and Keith Appling missing significant time. Appling played 19 minutes against Nebraska and wore a brace on his right wrist. He was a game-time decision and many did not expect him to suit up.

“We decided after warm-ups that we were going to try and play him some,” Izzo said. “He tried to do what he could do, but when you don’t practice for two, two-and-half weeks, when you’re not a skill guy it’s easier, but if you’re a skill guy, it’s a little harder.”

By next Sunday, Appling’s wrist should be healed more and he might be able to play without the brace. The Spartans will need all the help they can get and that includes the possible return of Branden Dawson. He is scheduled to get the pins removed from his hand on Thursday and testing and x-rays will determine if he will play against the Wolverines.

After the Michigan battle, the Spartans return to East Lansing for a two-game homestand against Illinois and Iowa before finishing the regular season in Columbus, Ohio for a rematch with Ohio State. MSU’s last five opponents have a combined win percentage of 0.667.

The loss to Nebraska shows just how deep the Big Ten is. Anyone can beat anyone on a given night. Nebraska had already won against Ohio State, Minnesota and Indiana and possibly played their way into bubble consideration. No game in the conference is a lock, and the Cornhuskers showed that on Sunday

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3-Point Play: Nebraska Edition

FEB 17 – The Spartans (21-5, 10-3) found themselves on the losing end of a knockdown, drag-out battle with Nebraska on Sunday afternoon. The Cornhuskers (14-10, 6-6) found their rhythm early, opening up a 13-4 lead by the first media timeout. MSU proceeded to charge back with an 11-0 run of their own, holding Nebraska without a field goal for over eight minutes, but the Cornhuskers tightened up their defense toward the end of the half and took a 32-25 lead into halftime.

Nebraska maintained their lead for most of the second half. Whenever MSU would start to make a run, the Cornhuskers would answer back with a basket of their own. Gary Harris was fouled on a three-pointer and made all of his free throws with 4:42 left, cutting the Nebraska lead to 51-47, but Terran Petteway was a shooting machine, seemingly stopping every single MSU run with a three-pointer.

Adreian Payne missed a breakaway layup and Nebraska quickly converted on one of their own to give them a 56-51 lead with just over a minute remaining. When MSU had to foul, Nebraska made their free throws and the Cornhuskers came away with the huge 60-51 upset. Here are three factors of the game.

1. Gary Harris is Still in a Funk

Although Harris led the team with 18 points, his shot was off and he kept forcing the issue. He shot just 1-7 from beyond the arc and 5-15 overall. Over his last six games, Harris is shooting 32.5 percent from the field and 24 percent from deep.

“He’s in here morning, noon and night shooting,” said Coach Izzo in the postgame conference. “I don’t know what you do. It’s not what I do, it’s what he does and all I can tell you is he’s working on it. We’re just going to keep going to him, because he is what he is.”

Although his shot is not falling, he continues to heave them up. With Appling and Payne missing significant time, Harris has felt as though he has to shoulder the scoring load. To his credit, he started taking it to the hole more frequently against Nebraska and converted on all seven of his free-throw attempts.

2. The Spartans Need Branden Dawson Back ASAP

In the last seven games that Branden Dawson has missed, the Spartans have been outrebounded in two of them, both losses. Not only is Dawson the best rebounder on the team, his is also a the top defender against big wing players. Coach Izzo called Dawson the “second-best defender on this team.” The game could have gone in a much different direction had Dawson been guarding the hot-shooting Terran Petteway.

“They made some circus shots,” Izzo said, “at least four of them (Terran) Petteway, two of them in the first half and two in the second with guys right on him. It was too late then; he was already into his thing. On the bench, we just said, ‘are you kidding me?’”

3. Road to B1G Title More Difficult

When the score of the Wisconsin vs. Michigan games was announced at the Breslin Center, the crowd erupted. All Michigan State had to do was beat a middle of the pack team at home and they would be atop the Big Ten. But with a stumble against Nebraska, MSU and U of M are still tied at 10-3 with a head-to-head matchup coming next Sunday in Ann Arbor.

“They came in here and punched us in the mouth and we didn’t punch back,” Izzo said.

Michigan State travels to Purdue on Thursday before heading to the Crisler Center for the showdown with the Wolverines. The schedule does not get any easier, with Illinois and Iowa on the horizon and the season finale at Ohio State. There is a chance that Dawson could return against Michigan, but his status is uncertain.

Michigan’s remaining schedule is more favorable, with Purdue on the road and Minnesota at home coming after the MSU game. Illinois and Indiana close out their season. It should be an exciting finish to the regular season, and the matchup next Sunday could crown the conference champion.

3-Point Play: Penn State Edition

FEB 7 – Number 9 ranked Michigan State (20-3, 9-1) cannot catch a break. As soon as Adreian Payne finally returns to the starting lineup, Coach Izzo announces that Keith Appling is out with a sore wrist. Not a good game to be missing your starting point guard. Penn State (12-11, 3-7) had won three consecutive games including at Ohio State in overtime. The Spartans struggled early in their last matchup with the Nittany Lions on New Year’s Eve, but this game was a different story.

Already up 13-8, MSU went on an 11-0 run with over 10 minutes remaining in the first half to open up a 22-8 lead. Payne received a standing ovation when he checked into the game for the first time. He scored 10 points and grabbed two rebounds in the first half. Redshirt freshman Kenny Kaminski got the start and led the Spartans in scoring through 20 minutes with 13 points. He was a perfect 3-3 from beyond the arc and 5-6 from the field. Michigan State held a 46-30 lead at the break.

It was all MSU in the second half, with the lead growing to as big as 26. The Spartans cruised past Penn State 82-67. Kaminski was lights-out all night, finishing with a career-high 19 points on 7-9 shooting. Denzel Valentine turned in another outstanding performance, just four assists away from a triple-double. His line was 11 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Penn State never held a lead for the entire game. Here are three key factors that contributed to Michigan State’s dominant win.

1. Payne shows no signs of rust

Adreian Payne had not played since January 7, but you couldn’t tell by watching him against Penn State. The senior had 10 points in the first half and looked dominant inside and out. His jumper was falling and his post moves were effective. Coach Pat Chambers of Penn State described Payne’s return in the post-game press conference.

“He played great. It was like Willis Reed coming off the bench, the crowd was going crazy; it was a standing ovation. They used that, Coach Izzo used that really well as motivation for his team and for the crowd.”

Payne only played 18 minutes but made the most of his time. He finished with 12 points on 5-9 shooting and did not look hesitant at all. The Spartans couldn’t have had him back at a better time with a tough roadie in the Kohl Center coming up on Sunday against Wisconsin. While the Badgers are starting to fade, Bo Ryan’s teams always play tough on their home court.

2. Even with injuries, Spartans have great depth

Coach Izzo surprised everybody when news broke that Keith Appling would not play against the Nittany Lions.

“I had talked to Keith [Appling] the night before and it sounded like things were getting better. Then the trainer calls and says that he can hardly move his wrist. We had specialists look at it and we’ve gone through all the x-rays and everything. It is kind of a strange deal – I don’t know if it’s locked up or what. They’ve done some work on him, but the poor guy missed his first game here.”

There was a thought in the back of everyone’s mind that they could give MSU a good game. But those fears were put to rest within the first 10 minutes of the game. Tom Izzo is lucky to have such a plethora of talent on his team with all the injuries they’ve dealt with this year. MSU has used 12 different starting lineups in 19 games, and Coach Izzo characterized some of the lineups as “goofy”.

Denzel Valentine stepped up in the absence of Appling and ran the point extremely well, sharing with Travis Trice.

“Early in the game he [Valentine] was a bit out of control there – just going in and throwing the ball up. We took him out for a little bit, settled him down a bit and then I thought he play phenomenally – rebounding wise, defensively, made some shots, made some great passes, and did a great job on the boards,” said Izzo.

Even Coach Chambers had high praises for Valentine’s level of play.

“He really got things going. He played great. He did a lot of little things. He’s a tough matchup for us; he’s a big guard. When he’s knocking down his shot, it’s tough; it’s tough to defend him. He got in the paint a lot. He did some really good things; made winning plays for that team.”

Matt Costello did a great job complimenting Payne down low, going for 10 points on 3-3 shooting and six rebounds. He was also solid at the line, making four out of five. He gave Payne the opportunity to ease back into the game without feeling the pressure of being the main scorer in the post.

Kenny Kaminski had the best game of his career. He made his first five three-pointers of the game, including one from the top of the key that banked in.

“I think they hit a bank at the top of the key, that’s when you know it’s not your night,” said Chambers.

Kaminski has been up and down all season, so this performance was extremely important for the redshirt freshman. He not only hit threes, he played better defense and actually used his size to grab two rebounds.

3. The Big Ten race is going to be fun

Michigan State and Michigan are tied atop the Big Ten standings, with the rest of the pack at least three games behind. The Wolverines have a tough stretch coming up, starting on Saturday when they travel to Iowa. Then they face Ohio State in Columbus, Wisconsin comes to Crisler, and then MSU returns for revenge on the 23rd. Coach Izzo likes the lead he has, but is definitely not comfortable with it.

“We are both competing; I think the next closest team has four, five loses. Not that I feel comfortable with that in any way, because the schedule the way it is who plays who twice. There is no levelness to it. Doesn’t mean you have played one-through-nine and nine-through-one. It doesn’t go how it used to go. So you could have some tough road games. We have some tough games coming up now. So I just feel good that we are in the hunt right now,” said Izzo.

Michigan State’s next game is on Sunday against Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin team. The Kohl Center has always been a difficult place to play, no matter who suits up for the Badgers. Wisconsin has lost five of their last seven games after starting 16-0, but they are still one of the toughest teams in the conference. The game is at 1:00 pm and can be seen on CBS or heard on the Spartan Sports Network.

 

 

Role Players Plugging the Hole for MSU

JAN 30 – One slam of a hand, and MSU’s season could have been up in flames.

Without their top two rebounders, the Spartans could have imploded and limped along until Adreian Payne came back. But the role players for Michigan State have done their best to plug the gaping hole left by Payne and Branden Dawson so far.

Matt Costello played a key part in Michigan State’s last two games. In the hard-fought loss to Michigan, the sophomore scored nine points while grabbing eight rebounds. He is not needed to score, but more to clean the offensive glass. In his last two games, Costello has had nine offensive rebounds, leading to key second-chance points for the Spartans. His defense is also solid in the post, swatting the Hawkeyes twice in the overtime win.

Denzel Valentine played a major role in the overtime victory in Iowa on Tuesday. He played 29 minutes and pitched in 12 points and six rebounds. He also had two assists, including a huge one in overtime. Although he turned in a lackluster performance against Michigan, his overall numbers this season are up from last year, with 2.5 more points and nearly two more rebounds per game.

Perhaps the best moment from the Iowa game was Russell Byrd hitting the three-pointer in the corner to seal the game for the Spartans in overtime. Byrd has dealt with a slew of injuries throughout his career at Michigan State that have completely shot his confidence.

Despite being healthy all season, Byrd has only played in 11 games this year, scoring in double digits once. He had not hit a three since mid-December, but it could not have come at a better time. Those were his only points of the game, but he could be considered the game’s MVP.

With the best head coach in the Big Ten and possibly the nation, the Spartans should be in good shape even without two starters. Coach Izzo has dealt with similar situations in the past, specifically in the 1999-2000 championship season. Mateen Cleaves had to miss the first 13 games of the season due to a stress fracture in his right foot and the Spartans stumbled to a 9-4 start, including a loss to Wright State (4-8).

The rest is history. So do not despair Spartan fans. Izzo knows what he is doing and he has the players to step up and carry the team until Dawson and Payne are back.

– See more at: http://impact89fm.org/sports/2014/01/29/role-players-plugging-the-hole-for-msu/#sthash.vg6N3HpN.dpuf

Scouting Report: Columbia Lions

NOV 14, 2013 –

The Columbia Lions visit the Breslin Center on Friday night at 9 p.m., as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Here is a quick rundown on the Lions as they prepare to take on the Spartans:

Head Coach: Kyle Smith (42-45, fourth season)

Last Season: 12-16

This season: 1-1

Key Players: Grant Mullins, Cory Osetkowski

The Columbia Lions come into this game as heavy underdogs. The Ivy Leaguers have virtually no chance against a soon-to-be number one ranked Michigan State team. Head coach Kyle Smith has done fairly well in his tenure at Columbia. 12-16 may be considered a disappointing season for a Big Ten team. But for a small school like Columbia, they are pleased.

Last year, the Lions were giant killers, knocking off two eventual NCAA tourney teams in Villanova (75-57) and Harvard (78-63). Columbia finished last in the Ivy League with a 4-10 record. However, they gave up the second fewest points in the Ivy League.

Two key players to watch out for are sophomore Grant Mullins and Cory Osetkowski. Mullins is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 18 points per game. He’s shooting at an amazing 69% from the field and is 5-9 from behind the arc. At 6’3”, he will most likely be matched up against Gary Harris. Junior Osetkowski is the tallest player on the Columbia roster at 6’11”. He’s averaging 12.5 points and seven rebounds per game this season. Matt Costello or Adreian Payne will most likely draw this matchup. I don’t expect either player to struggle defensively or on the boards against Osetkowski.

This season, the Lions are 1-1. They came out victorious in their first game against Maryland-Eastern Shore 73-54. Their second game they fell to mighty Manhattan 71-70.

Columbia might seem like a weak matchup for Michigan State, but the Spartans are coming off a huge win over Kentucky. Too often, teams have letdown games after a huge victory, which could be Columbia’s only chance of winning. They are overmatched in every single position and don’t have nearly the depth of MSU. The Spartans proved on Tuesday that they deserve to be the number one team in the nation, and absolutely dominated the Wildcats. The game should have never been as close as it ended up being, which further proves how good MSU really is.

There is no telling what the Spartans will do to the Ivy League cellar-dwellers. This game could get ugly.

– See more at: http://impact89fm.org/sports/2013/11/14/scouting-report-columbia-lions/#sthash.zagRW3Nm.dpuf

Scouting Report: Kentucky Wildcats vs. Michigan State Spartans

Nov 10, 2013

Head Coach: John Calipari (124-26 at Kentucky, 5th season)

Last Season: 21-12, Lost in first round of NIT to Robert Morris

2013-14 record: 2-0

Key Additions: Julius Randle, Andrew Harrison, Dakari Johnson, James Young, Aaron Harrison, Marcus Lee (All in ESPN Top 100 Prospects)

Key Losses: Nerlens Noel, Archie Goodwin

John Calipari worked his recruiting magic once again this year. He landed six five-star recruits this year. That’s unheard of in college basketball (except at Kentucky, they do it just about every year). It’s likely that four of these recruits will make the starting lineup (Randle, Young, Harrison twins), which means that they’re vulnerable early in the season. A lack of experience and team chemistry could outweigh their extreme amount of talent.

It’s tough to gauge how this year’s team will fare because of how different it is from last year’s disappointment. The 2012-13 team entered the season ranked number three in the nation and failed to make the NCAA Tournament. They ended up losing in the first round of the NIT to Robert Morris. Their star big-man Nerlens Noel tore his ACL in February and missed the remainder of the season. After that loss, Kentucky wasn’t the same team.

Willie Cauley-Stein, the only returning player projected to be in the starting lineup, averaged 8.3 points and 6.2 rebounds last year. Alex Poythress will most likely be the first off the bench for the Wildcats this year. The sophomore averaged 11.2 points and 6.0 rebounds per game last season.

The Wildcats are undefeated in their first two games of the season, beating UNC-Asheville 89-57 on Friday and Northern Kentucky 93-63 on Sunday. Julius Randle, arguably the most talented player on the team, is averaging 22.5 points and 14.5 rebounds through the first two games. Marcus Lee added 17 points off the bench in the first game, but only scored five in the second.

How will the Wildcats match up against the Spartans? Lets take a look:

Pos.

Kentucky Projected Starters

Michigan State Projected Starters

C

Willie Cauley-Stein (So, 7’0”, 244 lbs.)

Adreian Payne (Sr, 6’10”, 245 lbs.)

F

Julius Randle (Fr, 6’9”, 250 lbs.)

Matt Costello (So, 6’9”, 240 lbs.)

F/G

James Young (Fr, 6’6”, 215 lbs.)

Branden Dawson (Jr, 6’6”, 225 lbs.)

G

Aaron Harrison (Fr, 6’6”, 218 lbs.)

Keith Appling (Sr, 6’1”, 185 lbs.)

G

Andrew Harrison (Fr, 6’6”, 215 lbs.)

Gary Harris (So, 6’4”, 210 lbs.)

Julius Randle will be a handful for MSU’s frontcourt. He has been on a tear thus far (although against subpar competition). He can score at will and is a beast on the boards. The Harrison twins have a big size advantage over Harris and Appling. Look for them to be physical and take it to the rim against smaller defenders. The Harrisons are averaging a combined 23.5 ppg compared to 31 points for the Harris/Appling combo.

The most intriguing matchup will be Dawson against Young. Both are the same height but Dawson has a 10-pound advantage. Dawson scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds off the bench against McNeese State. Coach Izzo held him out of the starting lineup because he was late to a team meeting. Dawson should return to the lineup on Tuesday. Young is averaging eight points and 2.5 rebounds per game. If Dawson can consistently hit jumpers in the 15-foot range, he could become a nightmare to defend.

The Spartans obviously have a huge advantage when it comes to experience, which could prove to be the difference. Look for MSU to pressure the Wildcats early and try to rattle the young players. With Kentucky being so athletic, MSU has to be careful in transition. If this game goes down to the wire, which it most likely will, MSU will be the cooler team. Kentucky isn’t used to pressure situations. Most of their players have never played in a close college basketball game.

Bottom Line: The Spartans will come away with a hard-fought victory 84-79. The game will come down to free throws, and the Spartans will come up clutch in that department.

The game is on Tuesday, November 12 in Chicago at the United Center. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN and heard on the Spartan Sports Network.

– Original link to article: http://impact89fm.org/sports/2013/11/10/scouting-report-kentucky-wildcats-vs-michigan-state/#sthash.fNvx1dXB.dpuf

Opinion: Branden Dawson is the Spartans’ X-Factor

Branden Dawson’s freshman season ended during the final regular season game of the year versus Ohio State, when he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament. That injury changed the trajectory of Dawson’s career. Instead of spending the summer of his sophomore year developing his game or possibly preparing for his rookie season in the NBA, he was forced to rehab his knee.

 Dawson saw his production drop in his sophomore campaign, going from 16.4 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted to 13.7. Although he was healthy, the mental aspect of recovering from such a serious injury still lingered.

“The mental aspect was hard. When I came back from my ACL injury, there were times where I was thinking too much, and there were times where I went in for a dunk and I just went in and just laid it up. The mental aspect, it was very tough on me. I was going out there, and I was thinking a lot,” Dawson said in an interview with Spartan Nation Radio.

This prevented Dawson from having the breakout season everyone expected from him. If he hadn’t injured his knee, he would probably be in the NBA right now, but a slight letdown of a season made Dawson think twice about making the leap to the pros.

Now entering his junior year, Dawson says he is “100 percent now,” and is due for that breakout year. This is why he will be the Spartans’ x-factor. Without having to worry about his knee, Dawson was able to spend his summer working on his game, especially his jump shot. Although he shot 53% from the field last year, that number was down four percent from his freshman campaign. Branden Dawson has not made a three point shot in a Michigan State uniform, but this year looks to be different. He is so proud of his new jump shot that he posted a video on his instagram account of him shooting.

http://instagram.com/p/cfAR1LGiRj/

Dawson has improved so much over the summer that coach Tom Izzo had this to say about the junior in an interview with Spartan Nation Radio:

“This summer he’s improved his shot. He’s improved his body. I think he’s had the best summer of his life, and I think he’ll be ready for hopefully a breakout junior year.”

Everybody can talk about how important Adreian Payne, Gary Harris, and Keith Appling will be for Michigan State this year, but Branden Dawson might be the player that could carry the team from very good to the best in the nation. With an improved jumper and better ball-handling skills on the wing, Dawson could spread out opposing defenses and open up driving lanes for the guards. Assistant coach Dan Fife said this about Dawson in an MLive article:

“Branden’s got huge hands, but one thing that when he came in, he was a good ball-handler,” Fife said. “He really was. I think he’s working to become a great one.”

The 6’6” junior is one of the best defenders on the team. Dawson led the Spartans in steals last season with 57. His defensive rating was the sixth best in the Big Ten according to sports-reference.com. He had 1.4 blocks per 40 minutes last season, which was second among all wing players in the nation according to draftexpress.com. Dawson was also named the Big Ten’s Most Entertaining Player and a preseason third-team All-Big Ten selection by Lindy’s College Basketball Magazine.

This season, draftexpress.com has Dawson as the sixth best junior in the nation. He’s on the second best team in the nation according to the coaches poll. If Michigan State wants to make it past the Sweet 16 this year, they will need a better Branden Dawson. He had a disappointing showing in the NCAA Tournament, averaging four points and 4.7 rebounds per game. This was another big factor in Dawson’s decision not to go to the NBA. His poor performance in the postseason hurt his draft stock.

Michigan State’s roster is star-studded, with three players almost guaranteed to make the NBA, not including Dawson. With so much talent on the court with him, he could fly under the radar of opposing defenses and explode for huge nights. Don’t be surprised to see Dawson post a couple double-doubles this season.

This year, there will be a new Branden Dawson. He’s hungry to prove that he is ready for the next level.  He wants to prove that he’s back. The knee injury is just a thing of the past. This will be a more confident, high-flying Branden Dawson who will dunk on you without a second thought. He is Michigan State’s X-factor.

-Original link to article: http://impact89fm.org/sports/2013/11/02/opinion-branden-dawson-is-the-spartans-x-factor/#sthash.fxGeapUx.dpuf