Friday, December 16, 2011

LIVE CHAT: MSU basketball vs. Upper Iowa

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Another weekend of MSU basketball

There are just two Minnesota State basketball games remaining before the holiday break, and it's been quite a cold slap in the face to watch the men's team.

After losing all those seniors from last season, there was a pretty good chance the Mavericks would struggle this season, especially early. But the play has been ever harder to watch than expected.

There are only three players with any experience. Stephen Kirschbaum is a spot-up shooter, and he's been trying too hard to drive to the basket. He needs to shoot 3s when he's opene because he generally makes at least half of them.

Connor O'Brien is the only player to have improved his game, and he's been good for about a double-double each night. But he can't be the go-to scorer. If he's your second or third option, you have a pretty good team. If he's the fifth option, as he was last season, you have a great team.

Point guard Jimmy Whitehead missed a lot of offseason work with a broken jaw, and he's been slow to recover. He leads the team in minutes played, yet his performance hasn't dictated that. Offensively, he doesn't look confident. He's not a great shooter, and when he goes to the basket, he often is called for charging.

The other players, most of whom are in their first season at Minnesota State, have been inconsistent. There are times when you see a bright future, followed by a harsh reminder of the sloppy future.

Will it get better this season? Tough to tell. This weekend's games should be a good test. Upper Iowa is a veteran team known for scrappy play, exactly the kind of team that could take advantage of the inexperienced Mavericks.

Winona State is one of the elite teams in the Northern Sun, and that game could be a blow out. Few teams wold like to bury the Mavericks on their home court more than Winona State.

You can only imagine that coach Matt Margenthaler, who has been pretty patient to this point, will be scouring the transfers this spring to find more college-ready players who can make an immediate impact next season. He doesn't like to lose.

Follow Friday's game at my live chat right here. I'll be on vacation Saturday through the end of December.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

LIVE CHAT: Minnesota State basketball vs. St. Cloud State

Friday, December 9, 2011

LIVE C HAT: MSU basketball vs. Concordia-St. Paul

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Watch MSU men's basketball differently this season

The Minnesota State men's basketball team hasn't played a home game in three weeks, and if you didn't see the Mavericks at the home opener in early November, you might be surprised by what you see.

The Mavericks are a young team, inexperienced in the ways of college basketball. The team has played more halfcourt basketball, a far cry from the explosively offensive teams of the last seven or eight seasons.

The Mavericks have yet to find their offensive identity. Shooting has been a problem, and there have been nights that it's been a struggle to score 50.

But while this season might be tough to watch, the future bodes well. The young players in the rotation have big-time skills. Connor O'Brien is clearly better than he was as a freshman, and freshmen Zach Romashko and T.J. Okafor look like a rock-star tandem in the post.

Sophomore point guard Jimmy Whitehead will have to elevate his game. Whitehead missed offseason time while healing a broken jaw so the extended minutes could help him to find a rhythm. He needs to be a distributer and scorer on this team.

Coach Matt Margenthaler has had to adjust his expectations of this team, which will test the patience of a highly successful coach. It will be interesting to watch him straddle the line of competitiveness with understanding.

The Mavericks have home games against Concordia-St. Paul and St. Cloud State this weekend, then host Upper Iowa and Winona State the following weekend. It's important that Minnesota State protect its home court.

Check out the live chat from all four games this weekend by clicking the link at or go directly to