Keith Appling

Spartans look to invert A/TO ratio from last season

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Last year was a major anomaly for the Michigan State Spartans. As Diamond Leung of pointed out today, the 2012-2013 season was the first time in a decade that a Tom Izzo-coached team had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio. Leung pointed out that the Spartans matched 489 turnovers with 474 assists.

That’s not going to fly.

“That was a ridiculous stat for a top-10 team,” Izzo told the Sporting News earlier this month.

The Sporting News pointed a finger at the team’s primary culprits, as well.

Sporting News writer Mike DeCourcy noted that guards Keith Appling and Denzel Valentine were among the Spartans that needed to cut down on turnovers. He also wrote that the Spartans last season were the highest-seeded team in the NCAA tournament with a negative assist-to-turnover ratio.

Appling had a rather meager 1.4 A/TO ratio as an individual, and Valentine was even lower at 1.2; the team’s best mark was a 1.5 posted by Travis Trice in limited action.

Appling (13.4 ppg) carried most of the team’s scoring load as well, so it may be that his assist numbers will improve when, you know, someone catches his passes and puts them in the basket. Then again, Appling projects as a point guard in the NBA, and the current state of his ballhandling makes his selection in the 2014 draft highly unlikely. So it behooves him, and his coach, to solve this problem as quickly as possible.



No. 13 Iowa State suspends Jameel McKay indefinitely

Iowa State forward Georges Niang, forward Jameel McKay, forward Abdel Nader and guard Deonte Burton celebrate after center Stuart Nezlek scored late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Coppin State, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 104-84 (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
AP Photo/Justin Hayworth
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Already lacking depth, No. 13 Iowa State will be short a key contributor Saturday when they take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater.

Friday night it was announced that senior forward Jameel McKay has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Steve Prohm and did not make the trip with the team. McKay, who’s been dealing with knee issues recently, is averaging 12.4 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game on the season.

Over the last six games he’s averaging 7.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest, shooting 60.6 percent from the field.

McKay has been asked to man the middle for a team lacking in both size and depth, with Georges Niang shifting over to the five when McKay needs a break for either rest or foul trouble reasons. Without McKay even more responsibility falls upon the shoulders of Niang, Abdel Nader and Deonte Burton in the front court.

The Cyclones are looking to end a two-game losing streak, and even with Oklahoma State’s struggles accomplishing that gets tougher with McKay out of the lineup.

News of McKay’s suspension was first reported by the Ames Tribune.

UNLV dismisses guard Daquan Cook from team

Illinois v UNLV
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LAS VEGAS (AP) UNLV junior guard Daquan Cook has been dismissed from the team.

Interim coach Todd Simon made the announcement on Friday, though no reason was given.

Cook was suspended for 13 games by previous coach Dave Rice in November after being arrested and charged with DUI.

Cook appeared in two games this season after being reinstated, scoring three points in four minutes. He missed the 2014-15 season after tearing his right ACL and played 28 games as a sophomore.