Friday, November 2, 2007

Why am I Re-capping an Exhibition Game?!!

Can a Top 10 team drop in the rankings because of an exhibition game? We're about to find out because Michigan St. just lost to Division 2, Grand Valley State.

We pick up the action with 1 and 1/2 minutes to go. Michigan St. trails by 3 and gets two critical steals to take the lead. Grand Valley State misses a shot and suddenly Michigan St. has the ball and the lead and the shot clock is off. Grand Valley State refuses to foul Neitzel and when Neitzel has to give it up, Tom Izzo calls time out. Travis Walton then proceeds to throw the inbounds pass to a player on Grand Valley State. Worse yet, Walton threw the ball into the backcourt allowing the Grand Valley player to take the steal to the bucket and earn a three point play. Now Michigan St. trails by 2 points with 8 seconds left. Neitzel takes the inbound and appears to trip leaving the ball bouncing in the middle of the floor. But, the Grand Valley player gets called for holding Neitzel down. He didn't get called for a push, but it was ruled that when Neitzel fell into the Grand Valley player, and when the Grand Valley player fell on top of him, that Neitzel was not allowed to get back up. Neitzel goes to the line where he is something like a 99% free throw shooter and makes both free throws to send the game into overtime.

Michigan St. then took a 4 point lead in overtime, but it wouldn't last. Neitzel missed a three at the buzzer, and the game went into the second overtime where the size and depth of Grand Valley State took over. With Naymick and Suton fouled out, Izzo went with a very small lineup and Grand Valley took advantage taking it to the basket and sealing the three point win.

Trust me folks, Michigan St. wanted to win this game. It might not count in the standings, but it says something about this team. I'm a huge fan of Tom Izzo, but I'm sure he'd be the first to admit that they are not a Top 10 team right now.