Branden Dawson

No Dawson, No Ellis, No Problem for Spartans

With Alvin Ellis still nursing a sprained ankle and Branden Dawson out with the flu, Michigan State needed somebody to step up for the Spartans.

True freshman Marvin Clark Jr. did just that in MSU’s 79-52 blowout of Santa Clara University.

Clark started for the ailing Dawson and scored the game’s first three points. This was the beginning of a 17-2 run by the Spartans to start the game. Read More…

Hot Spartans Demolish Ramblers in Home Opener

East Lansing was frigid on Friday night for the home opener, but nothing could cool down the Spartans. The Loyola (IL) Ramblers were victims of an offensive onslaught led by Marvin Clark, Jr. and Branden Dawson. MSU was firing on all cylinders and rolled to an easy 87-52 win.

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Opinion: MSU Looked Fantastic Against Duke

MSU looked fantastic on Tuesday night against the Duke Blue Devils. I do not mean that sarcastically.

I am legitimately impressed with the performance that Michigan State basketball turned in against Duke.

Yes, State lost by double-digits and looked like it has a ways to go before it is anywhere near returning to championship form, but it does not appear that it is too far away. Read More…

Okafor, Blue Devils Too Much for Spartans

When Tom Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski get together, you know it is going to be a battle.

Coach K’s ridiculously talented Blue Devils defeated Coach Izzo’s young Spartans in the Champions Classic Tuesday night, 81-71.

Duke came armed with the best recruiting class in the nation, featuring the crown jewel of the group, Jahlil Okafor. He was the top-ranked recruit in the 2014 class and is considered the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft this summer. Read More…

Opinion: Spartan Hoops Need Stronger Starter Showing

MSU men’s basketball opened the regular season last Friday against Navy in Annapolis, Maryland. While the Spartans enjoyed the hospitality of the Midshipmen during the week, the actual game was anything but a polite affair.

The Spartans squeaked out a 64-59 victory. Read More…

Spartans Escape Navy

There was nothing pretty about it but Michigan State started the regular season off on the right foot with a 64-59 win over Navy.

The Spartans looked sluggish all game and struggled mightily to establish an inside presence. MSU had several runs in the first half but the lead never eclipsed eight points.

“We didn’t do the things we needed to do to be successful,” head coach Tom Izzo said.

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Opinion: Best-Case/Worst-Case Scenarios for Men’s Basketball’s “Big Three”

A new men’s basketball season is finally upon us, and with it comes the endless speculation by fans and experts alike. The success or struggles of Travis Trice, Denzel Valentine and Branden Dawson will determine the success or struggles of the Michigan State Spartans as a whole.

Here are the best-case and worst-case scenarios for the Spartans’ “Big Three.” Read More…

Izzo Rocks Michigan State Madness

On an unseasonably warm October night, Spartan fans from around the state packed in to the Breslin Center to witness the spectacle that is Michigan State Madness (formerly known as Midnight Madness). Lines wrapped all the way around the stadium, one even stretching from the Magic Johnson statue to Shaw Lane.

Coach Tom Izzo has built quite the reputation for flashy entrances, and spectators were clueless as to what he might do this time. In recent years, Izzo rode in on a horse, came in dressed as Iron Man and even had a little help from a real-life Spartan, Gerard Butler. Last year, he faked out everyone in the building (myself included) when he pretended to get shot out of a giant cannon. Read More…

Opinion: It’s X-Factor Season

The leaves are changing and the temperatures are dropping, which means it is time for writers and bloggers to start filling headlines with their relatively unfounded predictions for college basketball.

One of my current favorites is the notion that, for the second year in a row, Branden Dawson will be the “x-factor” for Michigan State this year. Read More…

Opinion: Lack of Star Power Nothing New for Izzo

On the surface, it appears as though Tom Izzo has a recruiting crisis on his hands.

The Spartans missed out on yet another top-tier recruit in guard Jalen Brunson, who committed to Villanova University earlier in September. Brunson is the latest in a long line of missed five-star recruits in the past several years (recruiting rankings based on espn.com). Read More…

Opinion: Frontcourt Follies

Spartan basketball took a hit when it was announced that sharp-shooting sophomore Kenny Kaminski was being dismissed from the team on August 4. Kaminski tweeted on August 2 that he was transferring from MSU and was unsure of where he was headed.

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Getting to Know Marvin Clark Jr.

The recruiting class of 2014 got a little better with the signing of Marvin Clark Jr.

The 6-foot-7, 219-pound small forward committed to Michigan State a month ago, joining Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn and Javon Bess. He is a three-star recruit, according to rivals.com.

Clark is from Bel Aire, Kan. and played for Sunrise Christian Academy, the same school as Nairn.

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Spartans’ Draft Stocks after NCAA Tournament

After a disappointing loss to UConn in the Elite Eight, four Spartans now have time to think about their NBA futures.

Adreian PayneKeith ApplingGary Harris and Branden Dawson are all targets of NBA scouts and general managers. Their draft stocks have gone up and down throughout the season, especially in the tournament. Here is where each player’s draft stock stands.

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Walk the Line – #24 – 4/1/14

It was a good run.

With Sunday’s loss to the 5.5-pont underdog UConn Huskies in NYC, the 2013-’14 MSU Spartan men’s basketball season came to a close, but it was a run filled with amazing memories from the last few weeks.

Dan Krier & Ryan Smith spend Ep.24 of Walk the Line discussing the Spartans’ final game and look forward to this weekend’s upcoming Final Four battles in Dallas.

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Trip to North Texas on the Line against UConn

Tom Izzo has never coached a senior that has not made it to the Final Four. A win on Sunday against the Connecticut Huskies will continue that incredible streak.

No. 7 UConn is a bit of a surprise team to make it to the Elite Eight, beating No. 10 St. Joseph’s, No. 2 Villanova and No. 3 Iowa State on its way. The Huskies are led by arguably the best point guard in the nation, Shabazz Napier.

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Spartans Survive

Nothing came easy for MSU Friday night as they upset No. 1 University of Virginia, 61-59, in one of the Spartans’ hardest fought victories of the year.

Tom Izzo’s team lost the turnover and rebounding battles, but managed to pull out a win thanks in large part to Branden Dawson who recorded a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

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Spartans Match up with Cavaliers in Sweet Sixteen

Madison Square Garden will be rocking Friday night when two of college basketball’s hottest teams face off for a bid to the Elite Eight.

No. 1 Virginia cruised through their first two games of the tournament, beating No. 16 Coastal Carolina and No. 8 Memphis by a combined 29 points. The Cavaliers earned the No. 1 seed by beating Duke in the ACC Tournament and have one of the best defenses in the nation.

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Walk the Line – #23 – 3/25/14

Sweet, then Elite!

Episode 23 of Walk the Line finds Dan Krier & Ryan Smith in the midst of NCAA Tournament heaven. Time to break down the Sweet 16 & Elite 8 matchups, with Thursday and Friday’s spreads on the board waiting to be picked apart, including MSU vs. UVa.

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Spartans Survive Crimson, Advance to Sweet Sixteen

Harvard almost blew up everybody’s bracket on Saturday night. That is, if your bracket has not already been blown up.

With 17:38 remaining in the game, a Branden Dawson throw-down gave the No. 4 seeded Spartans a 16-point lead and all of the momentum they needed to bury No. 12 Harvard, but the Crimson pulled the upset in the second round, and they had their eyes on the Sweet Sixteen.

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Payne Drops 41, Spartans Cruise past Delaware

The road to North Texas started out on the right foot Thursday, as Michigan State soundly defeated their first round opponent, No. 13 Delaware.

Adreian Payne played like a man among boys from start to finish, scoring 23 points in the first half alone. MSU muscled their way to a quick 18-point lead with less than six minutes to go in the first half, but Delaware made a run and cut the deficit to 11 by halftime.

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