Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo looks up at the clock as they play the Louisville Cardinals in the NCAA men's West Regional basketball tournament in Phoenix

Report: Michigan State players have ‘physical altercation’ at hotel


According to a report from Centre County Report, a news outlet run by Penn State students and faculty, two Michigan State players had a physical altercation at a hotel on Wednesday. No. 18 Michigan State visits Penn State tonight.

According to their twitter feed, the two players got into a verbal altercation in the second floor rotunda just after 11 a.m. Wednesday morning at the Nittany Lion Inn. After the altercation turned physical and one player was shoved into a wall, the police were called.

No one was arrested and the identity of the two players is still unknown.

UPDATE: Diamond Leung has some more details on what happened:

Two Spartans players engaged in a verbal altercation that turned physical when they exchanged punches to the area of the face and one shoved the other into a wall in the second-floor lobby, causing minor damage, according to Parham.

No arrests or charges have yet to be made or filed, according to Parham, who said both players suffered minor cuts and did not seek medical attention after they were separated and calmed down. The players have yet to be identified because an investigation is ongoing, according to Parham.

Fights within a team aren’t not a huge issue in my opinion. These are passionate, competitive young adults that spend a ridiculous amount of time around each other. Disagreements will happen. If you have a sibling, think back to when you guys were growing up. You never got into a fight with each other? Now imagine there are 13 of you, and you’re all fighting for a limited amount of attention from your parents (playing time).

The issue is whether or not they can hug it out once the fight is over and tempers die down. Disagreements are fine, so long as everyone remembers that, at the end of the day, they are teammates.

(We will update this post as more information becomes available.)

UPDATE II: It was Branden Dawson and Adriean Payne. They won’t start tonight. The police are still investigating the incident.

UPDATE III: Tom Izzo tried to clear up the situation with an explanation of the incident, per MLive.com

“They are roommates back in East Lansing and they got in an argument over practice gear,” Izzo said. “They got in a pushing and shoving altercation, go back dent a wall, and with Twitter and everything else it becomes a story of its own.”

“I’m trying to find a happy medium between keeping it normal, and yet making them understand this isn’t normal anywhere this day and age,” Izzo said. “They have to hold themselves accountable, they didn’t, and so we’ll deal with it.

“I don’t want to make a mountain out of a mole hill here. Those two kids won’t be starting and won’t be playing for a while, and yet I plan on playing them sometime in the game.”

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Louisville backcourt struggles in first scrimmage

Quentin Snider, Jerian Grant
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While a few teams did manage to hold special events for the official start of practice this weekend, most simply went about their business with drills and conditioning. One team that was the exception to all of this was Louisville, which held the first of its two intersquad scrimmages on Saturday. The Cardinals had a head start of sorts on the season, as they played six exhibition games in Puerto Rico this summer.

One hope heading into Saturday’s scrimmage was that guards Trey Lewis and Quentin Snider would have better chemistry than they did in Puerto Rico. But according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, that remains a work in progress for the Cleveland State transfer (Lewis) and rising sophomore (Snider).

They struggled in Puerto Rico, and they struggled again in Saturday’s Red-White scrimmage, the first public intrasquad practice since August. They played one half of the game together, paired with the presumed starting lineup with Mangok Mathiang out with an eye injury, a group that also included Damion Lee, Jaylen Johnson and Chinanu Onuaku.

That team lost the first half by 13 points to a younger group of Louisville players, and Lewis and Snider combined for eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, five turnovers, five steals, four assists and three rebounds.

“I thought (Snider) and (Lewis) did not play well together,” U of L coach Rick Pitino said. “They’ve got to get used to that. Neither guy made other guys better. That’s what they need to learn to do.”

As Greer also noted in his story the Cardinals have in recent years employed backcourt tandems in which both guards are capable of making plays for themselves and others. On the 2013 national champion team Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led the way, with Smith being joined by Terry Rozier or Chris Jones the following season and Rozier/Jones being the grouping last season before the latter was dismissed from the team.

Once Jones was dismissed Snider saw more time on the court, and his development was one of the keys for a Louisville team that fell one win short of the Final Four. Louisville needs him to take another step forward heading into the 2015-16 season, because even with Lewis’ experience at the Division I level Snider has more experience playing in Pitino’s system.

But while Saturday’s scrimmage didn’t go as well as anyone involved hoped, there’s still plenty of time for Louisville to work out the kinks before they open the season November 13 against Samford.

Knee injury sidelines Memphis assistant

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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.