Tom Izzo

Who is Michigan State’s leader this season?

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Tom Izzo is used to being vocal. As you can see by the photo of Izzo with the microphone, he’s very well-accustomed to addressing the Michigan State faithful and his own team.

Now that Michigan State enters the 2013-14 season with incredibly high expectations — multiple publications have listed the Spartans as their preseason No. 1 team — they’re searching for a vocal leader that isn’t Tom Izzo.

Although the Spartans return four starters and a lot of experience after last season’s brutal Big Ten stretch, one of the major questions they have entering the season is who will lead them on the floor.

The Spartans began practice yesterday and as the AP’s Larry Lage reported, Izzo is still searching for the leader(s) of this year’s Michigan State team.

While Izzo is fired up about his talented and experienced roster, he isn’t sure who his leaders will be this season.

“We just actually met for an hour about it,” Izzo said before practice.

None of the four returning starters — Adreian Payne, Keith Appling, Branden Dawson or Harris — is considered a natural leader, but Izzo wants at least one of them to become more vocal.

“I’m not into leading by example at all,” Izzo said. “Cop out. Hate it. Despise it.”

The lack of a true leader at this point in the season isn’t a make-or-break proposition by any means, but it is interesting that a team considered by many to be No. 1 has uncertainty.

I’m sure the Spartans would just be happy if Branden Dawson and Gary Harris stayed healthy through the whole season and Adreian Payne and Keith Appling performed up to expectations during every game, but finding a vocal leader will be one of many interesting storylines surrounding Michigan State early in the season.

Lage noted in the story that Gary Harris is close to returning from his sprained ankle, with Izzo saying, “It’s so early in the year, I think he’s a week away from doing anything physical.”

When Harris returns to health — and returns to form — he could be the Spartans’ best player, and ideally their vocal leader, before he potentially leaves East Lansing for the NBA Draft after the season.

POSTERIZED: Pensacola State’s Jamal Thomas dunks through block attempt, makes coach go nuts

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A solid poster dunk went down in the junior college ranks last night as Pensacola State sophomore Jamal Thomas finished a dunk through a block attempt against Northwest Florida State.

The 6-foot-3 Thomas used his power and momentum to go through the opposing shot blocker and the play made his head coach, Pete Pena, go nuts with an over-exaggerated fist pump. The video is short, but be sure to watch for Pena’s reaction near the logo at the top right of the screen.

VIDEO: Boise State robbed of insane, buzzer-beating win on incorrect timing by officials

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It looked like James Webb III of Boise State had hit the season’s craziest buzzer-beater.

With 0.8 seconds left, he caught an in-bounds pass on the run on the right wing, hoisted up a prayer of a three and watched as it banked it as the buzzer sounded.

It’s pretty fantastic:

And it also clearly left his hands before time expired, but there was a reason for that. According to the officials, the clock (for the road team, mind you) did not start when the ball was caught.

They were right.

Where they were wrong was determining that it took more than a second for Webb to catch and release the shot, meaning that they were wrong to waive off the bucket.

This awesome slo-mo clip of the shot from Matt Stephens of the Coloradoan is all the evidence I need, but if you need more, Sportscenter anchor Scott Van Pelt clocked it at 0.7 seconds:

The game would go to overtime, where Colorado State would go on to win, 97-93.

As you can imagine, Boise State players and coaches were livid with the call.

“I hope it’s not a situation where you get an apology later but don’t get the win. I don’t understand it,” head coach Leon Rice said in a radio interview after the game. “I hope they got it right somehow, some way. I don’t know. It didn’t look right to me, but I’m not the official.”

This comes just four days after officials blew a call in a game between New Mexico and San Diego State that allowed the Aztecs to force overtime and eventually beat the Lobos. (That call may have determined the outcome of the Mountain West regular season title, to boot.)

New Mexico was essentially told, “my bad”, but the league as a result.

And Boise State will probably get the same treatment despite the fact that, if the league determines that the referees botched this call as well, the tame technically was over then.

Will they have the guts to award the Broncos a road win that they earned and deserve?

I doubt it.

UPDATE: Here’s a statement from the officiating crew: