Monday, January 29, 2007

Spartans' Neitzel nearly flawless, having fun

If this is a down season for the Big 10 -- and it is -- don't blame Michigan State's Drew Neitzel. Neitzel, who at 6-0 was the smallest player on the floor, was sensational Saturday night in the Spartans' 66-64 loss at No. 5 Ohio State. Neitzel scored 24 of his 29 points in the second half, as Michigan State nearly came back from a 20-point halftime deficit.

Neitzel and his buzz-cut dropped 3-pointers on the flustered Buckeyes, spun, whirled,drove to the basket and -- most importantly -- seemed to be having a great time. He was shown several times on TV flashing a mishievous smile as he ran back down the floor after scoring yet another basket.

The Spartans (17-5) will probably spend the rest of the season on the NCAA tournament bubble, but Neitzel is the kind of player who might take them to places they might not otherwise dream about. -- David Scott