In the midst of ESPN.com’s non-step preseason college football coverage (led by their new Big Ten blogger, Adam Rittenberg), they’ve found the time to compile a quality preseason round-up for the 2008-09 Big Ten basketball season. Highlights:
- Michigan State is picked to finish second behind Purdue.
- MSU has the second highest returning scorer in the conference (Morgan) and two of the top five returning rebounders (Suton/Morgan) and assist leaders (Walton/Lucas).
- Rittenberg conjures up an optimistic scenario under which the Big Ten finally tops the ACC in their annual challenge: Purdue and MSU win at home against Duke/UNC (counting Ford Field as a home game), Wisconsin and Ohio State win on the road against Va. Tech/Miami, and one of Minnesota/Illinois/Northwestern wins at home.
Speaking of football, I’ll give in to the preseason hype and post a few pigskin-related links:
Alas, we knew you hardly at all: Up With the Colors is no more. (Update: I guess “is no more” was an exaggeration; he just won’t be posting with regular frequency. See his amended post.)
So go ahead and check out Victory4MSU, a relatively new football-oriented Spartan blog. He’s been doing a rundown of MSU’s nonconference opponents.
Big Ten Country previews the MSU season–predicting another seven-win season with a bowl trip.
Eleven Warriors puts the Spartans’ upside at a 7-0 start and their downside at around .500. So we’re bigger than a breadbox but smaller than the universe.
The Rivalry, Esq. urges Mark Dantonio not to use Javon Ringer on kick-off returns. I’d tend to agree.
Finally, I’m in fantasy football draft preparation mode. Here are a few free fantasy football tips from a college basketball blogger (keep in mind you probably wouldn’t go to your butcher to get a good wine recommendation):
- Avoid Larry Johnson like the plague. The Chiefs’ offense has as little upside as any in the NFL. (And did you know Johnson is already 29 years old?)
- Stay away from the Lions receivers. They’re extremely talented, but Mike Martz is gone and there aren’t going to be enough passes to go around.
- Daren McFadden’s the big-name rookie running back, but pass on him and get Rashard Mendenhall (plenty of running plays in Pittsburgh) or Chris Johnson (blazing fast; Lendale White is fragile) a little later.
- Moss and TO are tempting as the #1 overall wide receiver, but go with Reggie Wayne if you want a receiver in the second round. Almost as much upside; none of the big-ego risk.
- Late-round sleeper: our own T.J. Duckett. The Seahawks offense should be solid, and Julius Jones and Maurice Morris don’t inspire a ton of confidence.
There you go. When you win your league, be sure to come back and thank me. And if you don’t win your league . . . What were you thinking listening to your butcher tell you which wine to buy?