Big Ten Notebook: Blizzard forecast changes travel plans for Michigan State, Penn State, Michigan and other notes
Winter travel is a concern every year in northern-based conferences such as the Big East and Big Ten.
Still, this week could be a doozy.
Michigan basketball coach John Beilein said Monday he and his staff are looking at options of when to leave for a game Thursday against No. 1 Ohio State. Among the options: busing in the day-of the game as the Wolverines did last week against Michigan State.
All over the Big Ten, it could be a game of Snowbound: The Incredible Journey.
“We’re trying to either flip-flop with the women and go earlier on that day. There’s class issues with that, so we can leave earlier,” Beilein said. “Or we may do day-of-the-game. Thursday’s supposed to be fairly better weather. The option would be go early, get your shootaround and get day rooms for the kids or just go in and play old-school like we did against Michigan State. Just ride in on the bus and go play.
“So we’re looking at all the options. We want to avoid being stuck in snow or making it a seven-hour bus ride to get down there.”
How bad can the snow get? The Weather Channel reported on its website that Jim Cantore will report from to Chicago starting Tuesday. Cantore, it seems, draws all the intense weather assignments. Weather.com is calling for a "multi-day, multi-region potentially historic and destructive winter storm."
JIM CANTORE REPORTING ON THUNDERSNOW:
Both Penn State and Michigan State are scheduled to head west to Illinois and Iowa early this week, and both Nittany Lions coach Ed DeChellis and Spartans coach Tom Izzo said they expect major travel snags.
DeChellis said Penn State was trying to leave earlier Monday but the Nittany Lions couldn’t reschedule their flight out of tough-to-get-out-of State College, Pa.
“They’re telling me we’re not going to get back (Tuesday night),” DeChellis said. “ Pack an extra set of clothes because we’re not even sure we’re going to get back here Wednesday.”
Meanwhile, Michigan State continues its difficult travel schedule this year. The Spartans athletic department told Izzo his team would be leaving earlier Tuesday to avoid the snow, probably by 3 p.m.
Getting back, he said, could be even trickier.
“We’re flying somewhere,” Izzo said. “Get some snowmobiles from the U.P. and get there.”
The Spartans had to bus back from Illinois earlier this month and have had a lot of late arrivals back to East Lansing after late games against Syracuse and Duke.
“It’s been a weird year,” Izzo said. “But they call you two days ahead of time and tell you you are leaving early, there’s a pretty big storm coming.”
Shurna update Northwestern junior forward John Shurna missed the Ohio State game Saturday with a concussion suffered against Minnesota.
His status is still unclear heading into this week as Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said he’ll be evaluated either today or Tuesday.
“He was evaluated on Saturday morning and he wasn’t cleared,” Carmody said. “ They’ll evaluate him and make sure he’s symptom-free and if he is, then they’ll test him.”
Shurna is fourth in the Big Ten in scoring at 19 points a game.
Making changes Michigan State (13-8, 5-4 Big Ten) is 3-4 in its last seven games and 1-1 since the dismissal of guard Korie Lucious. Izzo said he may make a couple of changes, and one of them could be a lineup shift.
“I think we’re going to have to play (Draymond) Green a little bit more at the three as we go here,” Izzo said. “There’s no question we’re getting in foul trouble. But it depends on who you’re playing.”
Another potential shift, especially to deal with the foul trouble, is looking at playing more zone than Michigan State has done in the past.
Quote of the week “If you’re looking for a positive, we have a bye,” Illinois’ Bruce Weber, whose team has lost two in a row and four of the last five games.