Chris Allen is out for the Texas game: As Joe Rexrode notes, it would have been nice to have him back as Texas apparently plays a lot of zone. On the other hand, he’d probably be pretty rusty.
Mr. Rexrode also has some scheduling morsels: MSU will play Texas the next three seasons. Kansas will play at Breslin next year, and the Spartans will play in Orlando over Thanksgiving weekend.
Expect to see more zone defense in the Big Ten this season: Not only has Beilein brought his 1-3-1 to Michigan, the Columbus Dispatch’s “Hoops and Scoops” blog indicates Ohio State is playing zone defense exclusively this season. Once the conference of the I-formation and man-to-man defense, the Big Ten is becoming the conference of the spread offense and the zone defense!
Purdue was upset by Wofford 69-66 last night (in the first round of the Las Vegas Classic, brought to you live from . . . West Lafayette!): The Indy Star’s Purdue blog chalks this up to Wofford playing zone because Purdue can’t shoot consistently from the outside. The Boilermakers made only 3 of 16 3-point attempts.
HoopRaker pontificates on college basketball and the Benjamins: He singles out Izzo as the one of the three big money coaches in the Big Ten (Matta and Tubby being the other two) who has clearly earned his immense paycheck. My take: I share HoopRaker’s longing for a time when institutional integrity at least trumped the almighty dollar, but I think that ship has sailed. Big time college sports simply generate too much revenue for university decision making not to be influenced heavily by financial considerations. At some point, I fear the system is going to break down entirely. You simply can’t have this much money pouring into university coffers while trying to stringently maintain amateurism for the players. (Good news: It’ll be college football, not basketball, where the fault line in the system will open.) This isn’t a moral judgment; it’s an economic one. The system just isn’t sustainable.
Housekeeping: You’ve probably noticed I’ve modified the blog’s format and banner photo. I think this is a sleaker, easier-to-read format. And the text highlights are a nice Spartan green. (It’s a WordPress template; I’m still far from being technologically-savvy enough to design my own blog format.) Let me know if you notice any other improvements that could be made around here.