College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 12, 2013
President Obama's State of the Union address wasn't particularly exciting, and neither were Tuesday's pair of top 25 match-ups, though they looked as though they might be prior to the opening tips.
In Gainseville, the 20-3 Florida Gators cemented their lead over the rest of the SEC with a 69-52 breeze past #25 Kentucky, dropping the Wildcats into a second-place tie with Alabama at 8-3 in the conference standings. 7th-ranked Florida, winners of 12 of their last 13, improved to 10-1 in the SEC with the victory, holding the Wildcats to just 42% shooting.
While the president was speaking, Tom Izzo's Spartans were making a statement of their own, dumping #4 Michigan, 75-52. The win moved #8 Michigan State into first place in the Big Ten with a 10-2 record, a half game better than 9-2 Indiana. The Spartans took an early lead, were up 14 at the half, and never looked back.
Following a game at Nebraska this Saturday, the Spartans embark on a rugged four-game stretch against Indiana, on the road for Ohio State and Michigan, and then back home for #20 Wisconsin. How Michigan State survives the upcoming schedule will largely determine the standings in the Big Ten, and will surely prepare the Spartans for the Big Dance in March.
In Detroit, Nick Minnerath was making his presence felt in a 92-62 rout of Cleveland State. Minnerath scored a game-high 34 points on 12-for-22 shooting with a pair of threes, and went 8-for-10 from the charity stripe. He also nabbed 12 boards, six on the offensive end.
Detroit is chasing Valparaiso in the Horizon League, the Titans in second place at 9-4 with Valpo on top with a 10-2 mark. The two meet for the second time this season on Saturday, February 16. In their first meeting, Valparaiso came out of the Titans' home court with an 89-88 victory. The Titans will be looking to return the favor.