Linking Laconically is on to the next one

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 11: Brandon Wood #30 (L) and Draymond Green #23 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrate after they won 68-64 against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Final Game of the 2012 Big Ten Men's Conference Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 11, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

We'll certainly talk more throughout the week about just who Long Island University-Brooklyn is, but for now, here are a few notes about the team Michigan State will open the tourney against at 9:20 p.m. Friday.

Via ESPN, expect them to try and play fast. They are among the leaders in the country in possessions per game at 75.2. Here's more on their offense (Insider required):

They like to run, and they get a lot of their scoring in the transition game. With a lot of good ballhandlers and two capable finishers down low, the Blackbirds are mighty good at running this offense.

But that defense ... not so good (Insider, again):

Long Island's best defense is its offense.The Blackbirds often switch back and forth between man and zone defense, but in reality they have little focus on defense at all, and the numbers show it. Long Island's emphasis on tempo leaves it exposed on the defensive end, ranking 275th in the nation in adjusted efficiency.

Also, watch out for LIU's Jason Brickman (Insider):

There's some correlation between assists and Giant Killing, and if that's the case, Brickman has an edge, with 7.3 dimes per game. That's a 35.6 assist rate, 24th in the country. As an added bonus, he hits just over 40 percent of his 3s. And a really cool stat? He leads the country in fewest fouls per 40 minutes (0.8).

Some more links after the jump.

March Madness 2012: Michigan State Basketball's Path To NCAA Tournament - SB Nation Detroit
Sean Yuille on the reward of this season after the trials of last season: "The reason last season was so disappointing is because expectations were so high. Michigan State started the season ranked second in the preseason polls and was expected to contend for another Final Four appearance. Instead, the Spartans contended only for a spot in the field of 68 to keep their tournament streak going. This season was the complete opposite for MSU. There were no expectations before the season. Michigan State wasn't even ranked, and nobody really knew what to expect. The thinking was the Spartans would be better than last season, but that wasn't exactly saying much."

MSU men's basketball: Spartans win Big Ten tourney, earn NCAA No. 1 seed | Lansing State Journal |
Predictably, getting that No. 1 seed meant a lot symbolically more than anything: "A huge roar erupted from MSU players, coaches, support staff and family members in a lounge at the arena when the NCAA Tournament selection show revealed that the Spartans got the fourth No. 1 seed in the tournament. MSU will play No. 16 seed Long Island University-Brooklyn at 9:20 p.m. on Friday in Columbus, Ohio. The game will be televised on TBS."

BDL at the Movies: 5 thoughts on ‘The Announcement,’ the story of Magic Johnson’s HIV disclosure | Ball Don't Lie - Yahoo! Sports
Dan Devine has a great review of the Magic Johnson documentary: "In a room full of grown men, champions, preparing to hear the worst from their leader, this is what Vitti says Johnson did: "He looked me in the eyes and said, 'When God gave me this disease, he gave it to the right person.'" Irrespective of your thoughts on God's role in the process of Johnson contracting HIV, I mean … holy cow. And, frankly, when you look at the last 20-plus years, you'd be hard-pressed to argue otherwise."

Michael Rosenberg: Spartans finally reign alone and earn last No. 1 seed | Detroit Free Press |
Day Day had no idea how he was the MOP. He's right, he played bad, but he's always the Most Outstanding Player: "They won even though Green said afterward "I played awful." He needed 15 shots to score 12 points. Was he surprised, then, to be selected the tournament’s most outstanding player? "Yes, I was," Green said."

Tom Izzo's friend Bruce Weber sits in Michigan State section during Saturday's game | Detroit Free Press |
Tom Izzo, just taking care of his guys: "Izzo wanted to show his support by having him sit not far from his team's bench. Weber appeared relaxed and ate popcorn as the Spartans beat Wisconsin, 65-52."

Will Michigan get confused by playing 'Ohio' (Bobcats) in NCAA tournament? | Detroit Free Press |
Everyone har har harred at Brady Hoke's calling Ohio State 'Ohio' thing. He's such a comedian, a regular Kevin James. But now that UM opens the tourney against the real Ohio, Hoke may have given some unintentional bulletin board material. And, oh yeah, Ohio's coach is a former Matta assistant, so they'll surely get some inside info on how OSU dismantled Michigan in the Big Ten tourney: "He (Matta) was then asked: How can Ohio, coached by former Matta assistant John Groce, make sure Michigan knows what team it is playing? "I don't know," Matta said laughing. "Maybe they can borrow whatever uniforms we're not wearing. That is irony at its finest right there.""

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