Nik Stauskas, Yogi Ferrell

Yogi Ferrell, Indiana shut down Nik Stauskas, upset No. 10 Michigan



For more than a month now, Big Ten teams have been searching for an answer to slow down Nik Stauskas.

Tom Crean discovered the answer: Yogi Ferrell. The 5-foot-11 Indiana point guard gave No. 10 Michigan’s superstar fits, holding him to six points on 1-for-6 shooting as the Hoosiers knocked off the Wolverines in Bloomington on Sunday afternoon, 63-52.

Stauskas is a big, athletic and talented guard, and while he’s much improved in his ability to make plays when he puts the ball on the floor, he’s not the kind of 1-on-1 talent that can beat any defender off the dribble. He’s not incredibly quick and he doesn’t have a great first step. He also lacks a post-game which would allow him to take advantage of a smaller defender in the post, which is why Ferrell was the perfect defender to put on him.

Yogi is as quick as they come at the point guard spot, and he as able to swarm Stauskas every time he touched the ball. It frustrated Stauskas, to the point that he almost appeared to be sulking during the second half. I’m not sure he even took a second half dribble until there were less than eight minutes left in the half, and on one possession around the 12 minute mark, he stood in the corner with his hands on his hip the entire time.

That’s not good.

And neither is the fact that Stauskas’ kryptonite may not be on tape for every Big Ten coach to watch.

Overall, Ferrell put on one of the best all-around performances that we’ve seen from a point guard this season. In addition to stifling Stauskas, Ferrell scored 27 points on 8-for-10 shooting, hitting 7-of-8 from beyond the arc and handing out a pair of assists as well.

The enormity of the win for the Hoosiers cannot be understated, either. They entered the weekend just 3-5 in the Big Ten and on the verge of missing out on the NCAA tournament. Knocking off a top ten team will do wonders for your profile, however, but what may be more important is what this does for Indiana’s confidence. They still have to play at Minnesota, Iowa, at Wisconsin, Ohio State and at Michigan this season.

I don’t know if this win gets Indiana on the right side of the bubble, but they will have more than enough chances down the stretch of the season to make a bid possible.

Might this be the win they needed to get that ball rolling in the right direction?

As good as they’ve been, No. 3 Michigan State has yet to play their best

Bryn Forbes, Ryan Fazekas
Associated Press
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Sunday night’s Wooden Legacy title game matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence was billed as a matchup of the nation’s two best players, and rightfully so. Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine (17 points, six rebounds, five assists), who already has two triple-doubles to his credit this season, and Providence redshirt junior Kris Dunn (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) have more than lived up to the preseason expectations and more of the same was expected in Anaheim.

And while both had their moments, it was Michigan State’s supporting cast that made the difference in their 77-64 victory. The scary thing for future opponents on Michigan State’s schedule is that Tom Izzo’s team is nowhere near being a finished product.

With Valentine dealing with first-half foul trouble Bryn Forbes stepped up, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help the Spartans take a two-point lead into the half. As for the 11-0 run that Michigan State produced to take control of the game late, a host of players stepped forward in regards to scoring, rebounding and defending.

Freshmen Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid combined to score nine points over the final 5:32, with transfer guard Eron Harris adding six of his 12 points during that stretch. The Spartans outscored the Friars, who aren’t as deep, 22-7 during that stretch to close out the game, hunting for quality shots and hitting the offensive glass while making things difficult for Providence on the other end of the floor.

The end result was a final margin that does not indicate just how close the game was. While Providence seemed to run out of steam Michigan State received contributions from multiple players, which is undoubtedly a good sign for this group moving forward.

The Spartans will return the currently injured Gavin Schilling later this season, giving them another big man alongside Davis, Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman. He was a player they missed Sunday night, as he can defend opposing big men both in the post and on the perimeter. His absence was a main reason Michigan State didn’t have an answer for Providence’s Ben Bentil (20 points, seven rebounds) defensively.

The key for this group is going to end up being role definition, which is especially true in the case of Harris. A transfer from West Virginia, Harris came to East Lansing with the reputation of being a big time scorer. He’s struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but he got on a roll on Sunday night, finishing with 12 points, three boards and three assists. He showed he’s capable of doing a variety of things on the perimeter, and fitting into a “Swiss army knife” kind of role would make Michigan State that much more dangerous.

There’s no denying that Michigan State has been one of the nation’s best teams thus far.

But there’s also no denying that the Spartans have yet to hit their ceiling, which is definitely a positive moving forward.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady returns home with team

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.
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Wichita State forward Anton Grady was released from a hospital in Orlando on Sunday afternoon in time to return home with his Shocker teammates.

Grady suffered a spinal corn concussion on Friday when he collided head-first with an Alabama defender, snapping his head sharply to the side. He lay on the court motionless for 10 minutes after the injury and was taken off the floor on a stretcher.

[RELATED: Can WSU still make tourney?]

“I want to send out a big thank you to Shocker Nation and all of my friends and family for of the love and encouragement that I have received the past few days,” Grady said in a statement on Sunday morning. “I’ve been reading your tweets and posts and appreciate every last one of them. I have a lot of work to do to get back on the court, but with the help of such a great support system, I’m ready for the challenge.”

By Friday night, Grady had feeling in all of his extremities, but he has a long road of rehab ahead of him.