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    Michigan March Madness: UM, Detroit fall, MSU Spartans face Billikens

Michigan March Madness: UM, Detroit fall, MSU Spartans face Billikens

Condolences are in order for the University of Michigan and University of Detroit Mercy who fell last night in the opening round of the NCAA tourney. U of M rode the Upset Special with the likes of #2 seeds Duke & Missouri, Temple. While they pulled to within 3 with 4 minutes left, they couldn’t seal the deal against The Other Ohio team. Detroit came out firing and was leading with 10 minutes left in the half, but Kansas ultimately proved too much.

The Michigan State University Spartans had a hard-fought first half against LIU-Brooklyn but were powered to victory in part by the 8th triple-double (double-digit assists, rebounds & points) in (official) NCAA tournament history. It’s Draymond Green’s  second, and if you’re feeling that’s something special, you probably should as others who have notched one include Dewayne Wade, Shaquille O’Neil, and Michigan’s Gary Grant officially and Oscar Robertson & Artis Gilmore unofficially.  FYI, assists weren’t recorded officially until 1984. If they were, you could add 2 more by MSU great Ervin “Magic” Johnson. It’s a noteworthy feat for sure, as greats like Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Bill Russell never did it.

The Spartans now face the 9th seeded St. Louis Billikens at 2:45 pm on Sunday. If you’re wondering “What the Heck is a Billiken?” you’re not alone.  Fortunately, the folks at St. Louis University get that question a lot and explain that the Billiken was created in the early 1900s as a bank and statuette and was turned into all sorts of things from dolls & marshmallow candies to hood ornaments.

We decided we’d let the mascots settle this game in our March Madness Mascot Matchup!

Creation story: reknown 8th century fighting force vs early 20th Century novelty item. Advantage Sparty!

Muscle definition: Sculpted vs … flabby. Advantage Sparty!!

Public Appearances: Flags & iPhone cases vs Dolls & Marshmallow candy.  Advantage Sparty!!!

Dancing Skills: No contest (see below)

Seriously though, the Billikens are coached by a top coach (Rick Majerus) and dispatched a tough Temple team in the opening round. It’s a game MSU can’t afford to take lightly. More on the game from MSU.


Michigan vs Michigan State Football Rivalry

Michigan State vs University of Michigan Football

It’s rights for the title of the state, state champions, who’s the best in the state, it’s huge, big for the fans, big for the alumni and big for the players and coaches.
~Ryan Van Bergen, UM Defensive End

This Saturday at 12 noon the University of Michigan Wolverines head to Spartan Stadium in East Lansing to face the Michigan State University Spartans . The Paul Bunyan-Governor of Michigan Trophy is awarded to the winner of the game between the Wolverines and the Spartans. U of M holds the series edge at 67-31-5, but the Spartans won again last year, 34-17 comeback to hang onto the trophy for the third straight year. For the 2nd year in a row, both teams are in the AP Top 25, with the Spartans at #23 and UM ranked #11. This game is always a fierce rivalry , but mLive explains that in 2011 it takes on another aspect due to the new Legends & Leaders division structure of the Big Ten12:

…all you have to do beat out five other teams to win your division and you’ve got a shot at the Rose Bowl. Nebraska isn’t what we thought they were, and Iowa just isn’t that good. The winner of Saturday’s game takes control of the Legends.

If you’re looking for tickets, stubhub has them for $188 – $499.  The Sports Bank has a brutally honest preview that leads with Spartan DT and NFL Prospect Jerel Worthy’s Anti-Michigan Wolverines Tattoo and breaks the game down very quickly and insightfully, and as always the folks at The Bleacher Report deliver with their slideshow of keys to the game and predictions for UM v MSU. The Freep calls it a smash-mouth showcase while the Detroit News lets a pair of former players, Michigan safety Marcus Ray and Michigan State quarterback Tony Banks, lay down the smack. On the blogs, A Beautiful Day for Football wonders if it’s “Little Brother No More” and gives some interesting rivalry facts. As Bill Simonson says: “I hope this sports ride never ends.”
MSU vs U of M Video Spirit Rally

Choose sides and get in on the discussion over at or MGoBlog. These are great resources with all the news and updates you need regarding MSU and U of M sports.

Michigan in Pictures has a couple of posts from awhile back about Spartan Stadium in East Lansing (where Saturday’s game will be played) and Michigan Stadium aka The Big House.

Somewhere we have to note Whack-a-Wolverine from the Lansing State Journal and we definitely want to hear what YOU think about the rivalry and the game!

MSU Spartans, UM Wolverines & Oakland Golden Grizzlies earn 2011 NCAA Tourney Bids!

Via Michigan in Pictures

ITH-UM-11511-0038MSU Basketball #10summit league mens championship oakland oral roberts

Darius Morris by JS_Owens || MSU Basketball #10 by Blackbeard Ben || summit league championship by elishapage

After weeks of uncertainty, the state of Michigan was rewarded with not one or two but three NCAA Tournament bids!

The University of Michigan Wolverines (20-13) received a #8 seed, higher than most expected and meet #9 seed Tennessee at 12: 40 PM on Friday in the West Regional in Charlotte. It’s a high seed but a tough slot as they will likely face #1 seed Duke in the 2nd round if they advance. The good news is that Duke is considered by many the weakest of the #1s and Tennessee is 4-7 over their past 11 games.

The Michigan State University Spartans (19-14) managed their 14th straight NCAA bid, a #10 seed. They square off against #7 seed UCLA at 9:20 PM on Thursday in the the Southeast Regional in Tampa, Fla. If the Spartans win, they would probably meet #2 seed Florida on Saturday. While MSU always seems to endure some struggles, this season has been especially trying.

Michigan’s third bid went to the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies (25-9). They received a #13 seed and will face one of the dominant teams of the season who fell on hard times late, #4 seed Texas (27-7) in Tulsa on Friday at 12:15. The Golden Grizzlies are #2 in the country in points per game and shooting percentage, something they will really need Friday!

You can check out the bracket on ESPN, read more at the Freep and also check out Pat Forde’s Big Breakdown of the Tourney.

Here’s a series of videos that includes highlights from MSU & UM tourney championships, a sweet excerpt from ESPN’s Fab Five production and a very strange but funny interview of Coach Izzo by the Visigoth Sports Network.

Will Michigan Harness the Wind?

Great Lakes Echo is a project of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University. The site uses Creative Commons reporting to to help the news community cover the environment of the Great Lakes watershed. Absolute Michigan supports the mission of Great Lakes Echo and will feature articles they produce.

by Liz Pacheco

Middelgruden Offshore Wind Farm in DenmarkMichigan may be one important step closer to offshore wind energy by the end of the year.

In early November, state Rep. Dan Scripps, D-Leland introduced a bill to regulate wind farms in Michigan’s Great Lakes waters. The legislation proposes that the state fully oversee offshore wind projects—from initial proposals from developers, through approval and construction.

Proponents say it ensures that Michigan controls who, where and how offshore wind projects are developed.

“If we can put together and have enacted a comprehensive framework, we’ll be first in the Great Lakes region,” said Scripps. “There is a huge advantage in doing this for support for onshore job potential. If we don’t, and someone else beats us, we’ll have lost the opportunity from an investment and jobs standpoint.”

Great Lakes Folk Festival: August 13 – 15, 2010

The roots, the rhythms and the richness of music, dance, arts and culture from across America and around the world come to downtown East Lansing for the Michigan State University Museum’s annual Great Lakes Folk Festival, Aug. 13 – 15.

The festival encourages cross-cultural understanding of our diverse society through the presentation of musicians, dancers, cooks, storytellers and craftspeople whose traditions are rooted in their communities.

The festival includes nearly 100 musicians or dancers in groups, who perform at least twice and sometimes as many as four times over the weekend. Also featured are traditional and other food vendors, craft vendors and many other individual artists/demonstrators. There are five performance stages (including one with a 2,400 sq. ft. dance floor), a children’s hands-on activity area, crafts demonstrations, and crafts marketplace. In addition there are special programs every year, which feature some aspect of traditional culture.


Photo credit: Patrick Power

Observes GLFF founding director Marsha MacDowell, “The folk festival is a unique celebration of the histories, traditions, and cultures of the many peoples of the world, and while we have a focus on Michigan and the Great Lakes, we also present artists from around the nation and world. This is one of the few venues in the country to regularly showcase award-winning state and national artists, including recipients of the Michigan Heritage Awards and the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship Awardees. ”

This award-winning event is one of the region’s premiere arts programs and a summer-time high note — and is expected to draw more than 90,000 visitors throughout the weekend to celebrate culture, tradition and community. GLFF was named the state’s top public humanities program by the Michigan Humanities Council and the event received an artistic excellence grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to help produce this year’s activities.

Festival hours are: Friday, Aug. 13, 6 – 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 14, noon – 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 15, noon – 6 p.m. For more information, call the MSU Museum at (517) 432-GLFF (4533) or learn more at and on Facebook and Twitter.

Admission to the MSU Museum’s Great Lakes Folk Festival is free (donations are encouraged).

Get a feel for what the festival is like by checking out this flickr slideshow!
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Lansing ranks among great cities for young adults

Skyline: Lansing, Michigan, USA by Mario.Q
Skyline: Lansing, Michigan, USA by Mario.Q

Spotted in the Lansing State Journal today, Kiplinger magazine Lansing has been identified as one of 10 great cities for young adults. Ranking right along side the notable locations of Austin, TX, Charlotte, N.C., Chicago, IL, Kansas City, MO, New York, NY, Portland, OR, Salt Lake City, UT and Washington, D.C.. The criteria used to identify the cities were 6 key questions.

  1. Will I find good work there?
  2. Who lives there?
  3. What colleges and universities does the city offer?
  4. How much is rent?
  5. How is the commute?
  6. Will I have fun there?


The “Love Lansing” contingent is growing, with a well-known financial group touting the Michigan city as one of the best places for young people.

Lansing has been named one of “10 great cities for young adults” by financial news organization Kiplinger.

They promote their town on Twitter with the keyword “#LoveLansing,” talk about it during networking events and defend their decision to live here to their peers in other cities.

And now, they have something to back it up.

Kiplinger’s made note of Lansing’s cheap rent well below the national average, a respectable bar and club scene, high-paying job opportunities in bio and Internet technologies and an average commute of only 20 minutes.

Michigan’s capital is a little-known hotbed for young professionals,” Kiplinger said. “Granted, this Great Lakes community can’t quite compare to the larger cities on our list in terms of job prospects or things to do. But it has a relatively low cost of living. And its youthful population, downtown renewal projects, and emerging technology sector make Lansing a stand-out in mid-sized cities.

Read the entire article here.

The Grand Rapids Press at also has an article on the ranking: Is Lansing the coolest city for young people in Michigan? Kiplinger says so

Will Tom Izzo be a Cleveland Cavalier or MSU Spartan?

“I decided that this decision would put me here for life or not. I knew at the beginning, whatever decision I made, it was a decision for life.” ~Tom Izzo

UPDATE: Tom Izzo chooses to stay at MSU. That wind you’re feeling is a sigh of relief from Spartan basketball fans as the winningest coach in MSU history chooses to stay at State.

Final Four Homecoming #3 by Blackbeard Ben
Final Four Homecoming #3
by Blackbeard Ben

Tom Izzo, wildly successful head coach of the Michigan State University Spartans, is certainly Michigan’s top coach, so it’s no surprise that the Cleveland Cavaliers are considering him   for their head coaching position. The State News says:

Reports by the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Tuesday said the Cavaliers have informally offered Izzo a 5-year contract potentially worth $30 million or more, and includes the use of owner Dan Gilbert’s private jets.

Grant said the Cavaliers are looking for a coach who is “a winner” and is defensive-minded.

Also check out more about Izzo from Absolute Michigan, this piece looking at the pros & cons of Tom Izzo to the NBA from Slam Online,   this Freep article and the video below.


Izzo’s possible departure sparked a big rally at MSU, as fans sought to convince the coach to state at State. If you’d like to express your support for Tom Izzo, there is of course a Keep Tom Izzo at MSU Facebook page. You might prefer, however, to head over to to do it and also to read what other folks have to say! The State News quotes Cam Gnass who set up the site:

“I was sick of everyone saying why he shouldn’t take the job,” he said. “Is that really the message we should be sending him? This is just to let him know we love him and (we’re) letting him make his own decision.”

Gnass said the website has received more than 1,500 messages as of Sunday afternoon, and is receiving three or four new messages per minute.

Michigan says “Cheese” – Meet the Michigan Cheesemakers Cooperative

Ready for my closeup by farlane
Ready for my closeup by farlane

In MSU helps form Michigan cheese cooperative, Farm & Dairy reports on the newly formed Michigan Cheese Makers Cooperative. Members plan to work together to market their cheese, leverage their buying power and cooperate to further the art of cheese making in Michigan. The cooperative is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Cooperative Development and was brought together by the Michigan State University Product Center for Agricultural and Natural Resources. Product Center Director Chris Peterson says that cooperation is critical for small food producers:

“Each of the members has a unique product,” Peterson said. “And that’s a wonderful thing. However, having your own unique product maximizes the workload when it comes to marketing, and it’s difficult for one producer to develop a portfolio of products. By marketing these together, members now have a portfolio of products which make them much more attractive as a grocery supplier.”

The initial 11 members are:

Say YES to Michigan Cheese!!

East Lansing Art Festival & MSU Arts and Crafts Show, May 22 & 23

artfestposterEstablished in 1964, the East Lansing Art Festival is held every spring during the weekend prior to the Memorial Holiday weekend. Known for featuring the highest caliber fine art and fine craft, this highly anticipated Festival attracts 70,000-80,000 attendees from across the region. Through the jury process approximately 230 artists from across the United States and Canada are invited to exhibit each year. Jurors also invite emerging artists to participate through a competitive selection process. Emerging artists must be affiliated with an institution of higher education within the last 2-3 years.

East Lansing is a charming University town with a wide variety of shops, restaurants, galleries and the beautiful Michigan State University campus across the street. The East Lansing Art Festival is produced by the Art Festival Board of Directors under the auspices of the East Lansing Arts Commission/City of East Lansing.

The East Lansing Art Festival is held the weekend preceding Memorial Day weekend. The festival operates 10am-6pm on Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday.

Michigan State University Arts and Crafts Show

msu arts & craftsCelebrate spring at the Michigan State University Arts and Crafts Show on May 22nd & 23rd, 2010. In its 46th year, the show has more than 325 artists from across the nation and offers something for everyone.

The MSU Arts and Crafts Show is one of the largest arts and crafts shows in the state. This year’s show includes many returning favorites as well as brand new artists. There will be a broad range of exhibitors selling handmade items. Items include; candles, furniture, jewelry, home and yard décor, aromatherapy, clothing, children’s toys, painting, photography, pottery, sculpture and much more.

The Arts and Crafts Show is held outside on the grounds of the MSU Union. This show is held on Saturday and Sunday with over 300 exhibitors displaying items in a park-like setting on the MSU campus. Most exhibitors utilize portable structures for their displays. The UAB office can provide current booth fee prices. The East Lansing Art Festival is staged one block north of campus with over 225 exhibitors. More than 60,000 people annually attend these two outdoor shows.

The show takes place on the grounds of the MSU Union, near the corner of Grand River Ave. and Abbot Rd. in East Lansing. The show hours are Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission to the show is FREE!

Congratulations Coach Izzo!

tom-izz-and-jud-heathcoteMSU head basketball coach Tom Izzo has surpassed his predecessor Jud Heathcote with 341 wins for the school record of all time wins following a 106 to 68 trouncing of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. After having had served as the assistant head coach under Jud, Izoo was named head coach after his retirement following the 1994-95 season. Under Izzo, the Michigan State program has been one of the most successful in the country.

Coaching philosophyVia Wikipedia

Izzo’s teams are known for guard play, toughness and rebounding. Izzo got attention when people learned of his “war” rebounding drills, in which the players have sometimes worn football helmets and shoulder pads. His motto is “Players Play – Tough Players Win”. His other coaching philosophy is that “he doesn’t determine playing time, players do.”

We’ll play anybody, anyplace, anytime. It doesn’t matter, morning, noon or night, and it doesn’t matter who it is.
—Tom Izzo

For more on his record breakiing accomplishment check out:

Izzo becomes MSU’s all-time wins leader as Spartans blitz UMass 106-68 – The State News

Spartans blow out Minutemen –

Izzo becomes MSU’s winningest coach as Spartans rout UMass – USA Today

Izzo tops MSU win list in 106-68 win over UMass – Sports Illustrated

Izzo sets school record for wins as Spartans down Minutemen –

Coach Izzo is a ringer for the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame so via we wanted to point you to their video your of Izzo’s MSU memorabilia collection at his home in East Lansing.

Just to keep the MSU coach grounded we present via YouTube: MSU Basketball Coach Tom Izzo Goes to Broadway