2018-03-01 / Sports

Fat Guy Corner

Spartans ready for long run

Jeff Day — Sports Columnist Jeff Day — Sports Columnist The Michigan State Spartans took down the Wisconsin Badgers on Sunday afternoon 68-63 to wrap a sweet Big Ten title. The Spartans are a solid 28-3 overall and 16-2 in the Big Ten.

The season was a strenuous one with all the off-court issues, which absolutely had to be mentally draining. I can see the stress in coach Tom Izzo’s face during the news conferences when being questioned about the state of his basketball program. Last week a Yahoo Sports article stated that Miles Bridges received improper benefits. However, the NCAA cleared him to play against Wisconsin. Let’s hope Miles can put that story to rest to focus on basketball here in March.

The Big Ten Tournament starts this week and I really don’t understand why the conference ended its hoop season a week earlier than the rest of the power conferences. I am not so sure I would want my team off almost two weeks before the March Madness tournament starts. I feel basketball rust can set in really fast. These teams and players are used to playing two games a week.

It looks the Big Ten has Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State and Michigan as tournament locks. The ugly word “bubble” teams would be Nebraska and Penn State. I think one win in Big Ten Tournament would get both those teams in, but two wins would cement them in the tournament. All of us, by time the next two weeks are over, will be sick and tired of the word “bubble team!”

As of today, my four No. 1 seeds are Virginia, Kansas, Michigan State and Villanova. The overall No. 1 seed is Villanova and I know a lot can change in the next two weeks. The upsets will come in, like they always do in March, which is why we watch and love it.

Where do I see the Michigan Wolverines seeded? I would place Michigan on the No. 4 line and no worse than the five line. The Wolverines were a solid 24-7 overall and 13-5 in the Big Ten. I think Michigan is playing excellent basketball right now. I really believe Michigan actually overachieved this season and coach John Beilein did one heck of a job coaching this season. I think the Wolverines are a dangerous team here in March. Let’s get the orange balls bouncing for the best time of the year!

Wings management on my bad list

The NHL trade deadline has come and gone and the Detroit Red Wings dealt Tomas Tatar to the Las Vegas Golden Knights for three draft picks. I think the Red Wings made an excellent choice here. Tatar’s numbers were way down from last season, while lugging the same amount of ice time. The contract at $5.3 million for three more years is off the books to free up some money.

The move that was not made bothers me, as defensemen Mike Green should have been traded. He is a free agent at the end of the year and will more than likely sign elsewhere. I cannot believe a team was not interested in a strong defensemen for the long playoff run? I mean, anything for Mike Green is better than absolutely nothing, right?

I think the Wings’ general manager had one positive move and one negative move. I also must confess Kenny Holland is not in very good standing with me right now as general manager of the Red Wings. However, I am sure he will still sleep at night.

The trading of goalie Petr Mrazek was a solid move, as I felt he had to go. I think he was moody and a cancer in the Red Wings’ locker room. I think Mrazek thinks he is a No. 1 goaltender and I disagree. Good luck, Petr, with the Philadelphia Flyers.

No love for the Pistons

The Detroit Pistons deserve zero ink because it rhymes with the word stink! Yes, they stink and Coach Stan Van Blundy is a goner after this basketball season.

SHORT TAKES: Spring training has started for the Detroit Tigers and the word stink will apply to them also in 2018. More on them in the coming weeks. The Winter Olympics have concluded and the women’s hockey team took home gold, finally defeating Canada. How about men’s curling winning gold? A huge upset over Sweden was sweet. How about Shaun White doing his thing like always? He is incredible. The snowboard halfpipe of Chloe Kim was awesome, too. The Olympics always provide tremendous story lines and individual accomplishments, which makes them so special. thefatguy@mihomepaper.com

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