THOUGHTS AFTER BEING AWAY NEARLY TWO WEEKS

     Michigan State might win the men's Big Ten basketball title by a couple of games.  The Spartans clearly have the best athletes, in total, of any team in the league.  I don't think the other teams will win on the road with enough consistency to challenge State.  Injuries could change this prediction but the Spartans likely will win their first Big Ten title since 2001.

     As for the women, too many turnovers, not enough aggressive play and not enough good shooting.  MSU's women are 9-6 and they'll beat Northwestern in the Breslin Center Thursday night.  They'll finish with a decent record because the rest of the league is not all that great.  Turnovers are this team's biggest cancer in trying to win against quality teams.

     Michigan State needs all around better players to improve past the nine wins of this past season.  Stay tuned.  A mobile quarterback is needed to replace departing Brian Hoyer.  And more than one running back of consistency is needed to replace Javon Ringer.  A deep play receiver with reliability would also help.  The offensive line has got to improve.  It's amazing Ringer had the year he had considering how tough it was to block some other defensive fronts, especially Georgia's.   Greg Jones, who will be a junior linebacker, in my view, is the favorite to be the team's MVP after next season.  And if he's too good he might submit his name for the NFL draft.  I don't know who the starting quarterback will be but if you watch these bowl games you'll note the best teams have the most mobile quarterbacks.

     MSU hockey:  Still not enough scoring and it will likely be a problem the remainder of the season.  The key is for all of these current underclassmen to work like the dickens to get better for next season.  The Spartans have to develop scoring punch and the rest of this schedule appears mighty difficult to turn around its current standing in the CCHA very much.

     The Big Ten football order of finish next fall:  Ohio State, Penn State, Northwestern, Iowa, Michigan State, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Purdue, Minnesota and Indiana.

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