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Introducing Spartan Shadows’ newest writer, ChopMan

Don’t mind my rock collection, I’m here to talk about MSU.



via @chopmanMSU on Twitter

Behind the mask, ChopMan is just an average guy that goes to sleep every night dreaming of an MSU national title.

I’m going to be perfectly honest, this is my first time writing and publicly sharing something that is longer than 280 characters. Will it be good? No idea. Funny? Not sure. Grammatical errors? Absolutely.

I know March Madness is top of mind for everyone but allow me to (re)introduce myself: MY NAME IS HOVVV (had to)… Yes, I’m ChopMan and my name is based off the mantra of a coach and a football team. I’m obsessed like many of you.  I love how it brings a group of men together to work towards a goal bigger than themselves.

On top of the sappiness though, it’s kinda funny how leaning into a bit can become an entire identity and bring humor to the rollercoaster of feelings brought on by college sports.

You guys either A) have no idea who the heck I am or B) know me from my ridiculous twitter antics and stone collection.  Yes. I ate pancakes for 100-plus days. Yes. I’m a grown man with a stone collection in his backyard. But there are other things you should know about me:

Things I love (other than MSU)

  • Memes
  • Edibles
  • Walks on the beach
  • ChopWoman

Things I hate (other than U of M)

  • Burners with bad vibez
  • Ice bath bros
  • Cat ladies

I’m really excited to share with you my thoughts on all things MSU, no matter how stupid or genius they are. At the end of the day, my goal is to make you chuckle and fall deeper in love with the school. Behind the mask, I’m just an average guy that goes to sleep every night dreaming of an MSU national title. So here’s to the mantra, national titles, and of course… pancakes.

Keep Chopping 🪓,



Personal perspective on Michigan State tragedy from an alumnus

We’re all at a loss for words.



Michigan State

It’s tough to put into words the emotions felt after the Michigan State tragedy, but here’s my perspective.

It’s truly hard to put the words together to describe how I’ve felt over the last few days after the Michigan State tragedy – but let me start with this.

Feb. 13 is a day that will forever be remembered, for all the wrong reasons.

It was just a year prior on that exact date that I lost one of my best friends from high school at the young age of 24. The emotions that spring from the feeling of losing someone like that are not easily shaken. They never go away; they only get better with time. As such, it was a tough day to begin with. I went to lay down in my bed fairly early – around 8 p.m. – to reflect on all the memories I shared with him. Looking through old pictures, laughing through some of my favorite memories of him, reading old texts we shared – it was an emotional night.

Little did I know, that was only the start.

I’ll preface this by saying that I am a proud alumnus of Michigan State University, graduating in the class of 2020. I didn’t necessarily grow up a Michigan State fan, as my family had no ties to the university and I grew up in Buffalo, N.Y. I was a die-hard Boston College fan growing up because it was my dad’s alma mater. As a senior in high school, when deciding where I would spend the next four years of my life, I was all over the map. I visited probably around 10 different schools in various areas of the country, and only had Michigan State and Tennessee left on my list to visit before I would come to my conclusion.

My family and I had planned those final trips on back-to-back weekends in mid-December, with Michigan State getting the first visit. Suffice to say, I never made it to Tennessee that next weekend. On that trip to Michigan State, I immediately fell in love – there wasn’t an ounce of doubt in my mind that East Lansing was home.

Everything about the school enamored me – the big-time sports programs, the massive alumni base – but also, the family atmosphere. It blew my mind how a school of 50,000-plus active students could also feel…so small. It’s such an intertwined community that it’s incredibly hard to put into words – I wouldn’t expect someone who didn’t have the experience and honor of attending MSU to ever truly understand or be able to grasp it. But those who shared that honor with me – you get it. You get it 100 percent. There is something special about Michigan State, and I am so blessed to be a part of that family for the rest of my life. This university means the world to me, and I think everyone I know outside of the MSU community could tell you how visibly important this school is to me.

I proudly walk around almost daily in the green and white.

For better or worse, the performance of our athletics programs dictates my mood and my demeanor. But win or lose, I’m still turning the TV on for the next game and doing it all over again. I get excited when I see someone else representing Michigan State – those conversations always come so much more easily when we share Spartan blood.

My experience at Michigan State molded me into the man I am today. I met so many people there with whom I will share a special bond forever. Some of the most important relationships in my life were established there – friends from all over the country, from different walks of life, and from a wide range of upbringings. It’s where I first truly fell in love. Where I grew into a man. Where I dealt with true adversity for the first time. Some of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my life were at Michigan State University, and through all the ups and downs, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I grew up in a family of six, as the oldest of four children. By nature, I’ve always been a more outgoing individual – making friends and starting conversations came easy to me. For my younger brother, Owen, that isn’t the case. He was always shy and reserved, and he struggled mightily through high school in large part because of that. When it came time for him to start looking into different schools, I really wanted him to take a look at Michigan State because I knew how much he would be pushed as an individual to test his limits and strive to become a better, more well-rounded individual. Due to his reserved nature, he was wary of going to such a big school – the 50K-plus active students there were a far cry from the other schools he was looking at with anywhere from 5K-20K students.

I remember that, throughout the process, he kept telling me, “But I’m not like you, Jack” and “it’s just so big I don’t know if I’d like it.”

I continuously stressed to him that despite being such a large school in size, it was a different place. It felt like a small school because of how closely tight knit the Michigan State family is. And I’m so proud he made the decision to trust me on that because, in just a year and a half there, he has grown leaps and bounds and is almost unrecognizable from his former self. As a current sophomore, I am already so proud of him and the growth he’s made due to MSU and I can’t wait to see how he continues to grow and develop as a man and a person.

We share that Spartan blood together now, and it’s no surprise that now is the closest we’ve ever been in our lives.

Now – to come back to Feb. 13. As I said, I was lying in my bed early reflecting when I received a FaceTime from my brother at 8:51 p.m. telling me that there was an active shooter on campus.

I will never forget the look that I saw on his face – the horror and anxiety that jumped through the screen. The quivering in his voice. A legitimate fear for his life. I frantically started asking him the magnitude – was he safe? Did anyone in the house have a gun? Are all the windows and doors locked?

The next 3-4 hours of my life were filled with constant calls to my parents, my brother, and my sisters. Texts from friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, and people I hadn’t spoken with in a while. Two of my former roommates are in law school at MSU now – were they safe? Relentlessly asking Owen for updates, listening to police blotters, sifting through information trying to figure out what was accurate and when this was coming to an end. My brother informed me that one of the locations where shots were fired was the MSU Student Union – and how he typically would’ve been there at that time to eat, had his fraternity not pushed their typical Sunday mandatory meeting to Monday due to the Super Bowl. I am so thankful that God was watching over my brother and my family, keeping him safe so he can continue to live his life.

However, once the smoke began to clear after midnight and it became clear there was no longer a threat present on campus, I was still unable to sleep. I could not wrap my head around the fact that three young, outstanding individuals had lost their lives for no reason at all. And five more were in critical condition, fighting for theirs. How could this happen at a place I know so well? A place I lived comfortably for four years and still consider home.

Mass shootings at schools are all too common these days – we’ve all become almost numb to it, which speaks volumes about the reality in American society that everyone needs to face, political differences aside. I am lucky enough to come from a place where I’ve never had to personally experience going through it – and now unfortunate enough to have lived through a traumatic experience of this sort. I’ve spent much of the past few days randomly bursting into emotional outbreaks, and just wondering to myself why this had to happen.

As many others in the Spartan community have echoed, it truly strikes a different chord when it hits this close to home, and it’s an experience and a feeling I wouldn’t wish upon anyone else in the world. From the bottom of my heart, I hope that the events of Monday night at Michigan State University can be a true catalyst for change in this country as opposed to a 48-hour news story that gets largely forgotten by next week.

Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal wrote an article that has stuck with me over the last few days. In it, he writes, “This will be a national story for about 48 hours. Those folks will swoop in, leave, and move on. It’ll be an MSU story, part of our community story, forever. And, for some, a new fear and a loss of peace will be a part of that.”

That last line, especially, has been incredibly difficult for me to process.

I can’t state enough how awful I feel for the students at Michigan State University that have lived through this traumatic experience and now must walk those streets every day with that thought at the forefront of their minds. I hope the students of our great institution can come together and grow stronger as a community. I hope that their experience at MSU is still positive, and that they can still grow, develop, and mature during their time in East Lansing despite the senseless murders carried out by a cowardly individual.

It’s in my DNA as the oldest child to protect and care for my siblings, as I’ve watched over them my whole life. I pray that my brother and all of his classmates are able to regain their sense of security and safety while being on campus and walking around or attending class. It is devastating to know just how far-removed current students and their families are from that simple feeling right now – that should be a feeling no human being ever has to endure. I hope that their college experience still ends up being as fruitful as mine and all the Michigan State alumni before me. I know many in the Spartan community, including myself, will be here throughout to provide whatever support we possibly can.

I know that Michigan State will overcome this absolute tragedy just from observing how everyone has come together over the last several days. It’s been special to watch and has confirmed my belief of just how special of a place this is – like I said, it’s different. We will come back stronger than ever before from this – it’s in our DNA.

To close, I want to share some of the details of the lives of the three people that were taken from us far too soon. I hope to bring in people from outside of the MSU community – I want you to read about them and remember their names.

Arielle Anderson, 19, was a sophomore at Michigan State from Harper Woods. She aspired to become a pediatric doctor, and her family described her as a straight-A student. She was extremely close with her grandmother, who described her as “kind, loving, caring, compassionate, and driven.”

Brian Fraser, 20, was a sophomore at Michigan State University from Grosse Pointe. He was studying business, and was the chapter president of Phi Delta Theta at MSU. His sister described him as being a light in his family’s lives, and friends noted his infectious personality and sense of humor.

Alexandria Verner, 20, was a junior at Michigan State University from Clawson. She was studying biology and was a three-sport athlete in high school, playing basketball, volleyball, and softball all four years. Her father described her as a “beautiful soul.”

Remember them. Honor them. Grieve the loss of these individuals. And pray for them and their families – prayer is powerful.

We will get through this together. We are Spartan Tough. We are Spartan Strong.

Go Green.

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An open letter to Michigan State students, East Lansing community

Spartan Strong. EL Strong.



Michigan State

The aftermath of tragedy at Michigan State leaves a hole in our hearts and we’re thinking of the students and community.

Dear Michigan State students and East Lansing community,

As I sit here, trying to find the words to encapsulate the emotions that I feel as a former Michigan State student, I’m overcome with sadness.

It’s not a normal sadness that you can just “think happy thoughts” and get over, it’s more of a permanent sadness knowing that what just transpired on Monday night will never be forgotten. Thousands of you will never be the same. You had their lives turned upside down in one night thanks to a senseless act from a grown man with no ties to the school deciding it was his turn to play villain.

This is the type of sadness that will always be there when I think about Michigan State, the school that I attended and love. The school where I spent four of the best years of my life.

And now your experience is tainted. That is devastating.

You shouldn’t have to fear for your life when you’re walking to class or catching up with friends at the MSU Union or on Grand River. Fear should never have to be an obstacle for you leaving your dorm room to go get a quick bite to eat at the caf. Studying at the library shouldn’t be something you’re scared to do. You shouldn’t have to worry about double and triple-checking your surroundings on campus because you no longer feel safe.

This isn’t the college experience you deserve. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to be enjoying what should be the best four-plus years of your lives. Your parents deserve to be freed from worry while you’re at school.

One man took away your sense of security and that’s devastating. He robbed you of your peace of mind and the security you once felt by walking freely around campus with your only worries being whether you have time to stop in between classes to get food or if you’ll have time to study before an exam or plans on the weekend with friends.

Safety should never be a worry.

The entire nation watched as you guys made us proud. You took the proper steps to be safe and during a crisis, you acted swiftly. It’s rare that you see mass panic corralled so quickly, but you guys got it done.

Three innocent lives were taken and five more remain in critical condition which is absolutely heart-wrenching. This coward took three lives and the peace of mind of thousands more.

But just know that we are all behind you. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your major is, you have the backing of hundreds of thousands of alums. We are all feeling the same today: helpless and wishing we could do more.

If you need to talk to someone, we are all here for you.

Michigan State also released some support numbers here, but don’t be afraid to vent to any one of us alums. Reach out. Don’t bury this emotion inside of you. It’s OK to be angry or sad or pissed off. We are, too.

The Michigan State community is going to rise up and rebuild. We are going to come back stronger than ever and we’re going to make sure you guys are able to enjoy your college experience, not dread it.

We are forever in your corner.

Always, go green.

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Michigan State basketball: 3 key factors and a prediction at Ohio State

What are the keys for Sunday’s big game?



Michigan State basketball
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan State basketball heads to Columbus for a Super Bowl Sunday matchup against a struggling Ohio State team.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday across America. Which means there’s no better way to get the day started than with some Big Ten hoops. Ohio State and Michigan State basketball meet for the first time this season in Columbus.

Let’s dive into the keys to the matchup and a prediction for this appetizer.

1. What does Ohio State have left?

There may not be a colder team in all of America right now than Ohio State. The Buckeyes have lost 10 of 11 games, and sit at a staggering 3-10 in Big Ten play. It’s not uncommon for good teams to rack up losses in a competitive league like the Big Ten. But during the Buckeyes slide, they’ve lost home games to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Northwestern.

After a 10-3 start to the year and a close loss at home to Purdue, Ohio State looked almost certain to make the NCAA tournament. Now sitting at 11-13 with few impressive victories, their chances of making the field will rely on winning the Big Ten tournament in Chicago next month.

The troubling reality for Ohio State is that currently, there are no signs of improvement.

After a 16-point win over Iowa on Jan. 21 that snapped a five-game losing streak, the Buckeyes have gone on to lose five more in a row. That stretch includes an ugly home loss to Wisconsin that saw head coach Chris Holtmann ejected for arguing with the officials.

It’s a team that has talent. Freshman Brice Sensabaugh projects to be an NBA player one day. Forwards Zed Key and Justice Sueing are veterans that have played in a lot of big games over the years. Chris Holtmann is widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the league. For as bad as things have been, this is an Ohio State team that still ranks 39th in KenPom – higher than Michigan State (41).

The program’s culture will be put to the ultimate test over the last few weeks of the season. This is a team that currently looks like it has checked out. These situations usually go one of two ways. Either the team rallies and finds something to play hard for, or they unravel and become uncompetitive.

It will be fascinating to see where the Buckeyes’ heads are on Sunday.

2. Can Michigan State play 40 minutes?

Inconsistent. That’s the word I find myself most frequently using when describing this Michigan State basketball team. They’ve gotten off to great starts on the road against teams like Indiana and Illinois only to falter in the second half. Conversely, they’ve gotten off to bad starts in games against Purdue (first matchup) and Rutgers (first matchup) and played some of their best basketball in the second half.

But there really hasn’t been one game in conference play to point to and say, “that was Michigan State’s best for 40 minutes.” I think that is going to be critically important against Ohio State.

As noted, Ohio State’s confidence is at an all-time low. A fast start could derail all hope for the Buckeyes and end this one quickly. If the game is tight in the second half, Michigan State will need to be at their best to hold off what will be a desperate team looking for any sort of victory to feel better about their season.

The best version of this Michigan State team is one that is getting offensive contributions from A.J. Hoggard and Malik Hall. Tyson Walker, Joey Hauser, and Jadin Akins have proven to be fairly reliable from night to night. The key to raising the ceiling of this MSU team rests with Hoggard and Hall. Both have struggled recently in conference play but remain plenty capable.

For Hoggard, it’s about limiting turnovers, getting to the foul line, and not falling in love with three pointers. As far as Malik Hall is concerned, it’s about seeing some go through the hoop. He’s been in and out of the lineup multiple times this season due to injury and just hasn’t been able to find any offensive rhythm.

That will come with more minutes. Hitting some shots on Sunday will help him feel more comfortable within the offense – which MSU desperately needs.

3. Positive regression for Ohio State?

Ohio State has a very interesting statistical profile offensively. On the season, per KenPom, it ranks 18th in the nation in offensive efficiency. However, they are ninth in the Big Ten when you restrict those statistics to conference play only. They rank 13th in the league in effective field goal percentage and 14th in two-point shooting percentage. As their record indicates, they’ve been significantly worse on the offensive end of the court in conference play.

Michigan State comes in as the top ranked team in the Big Ten in effective field goal percentage defense. They have also been the best at defending the three-point line.

Defensive statistics can lie to you. Without taking anything away from Michigan State, successful defensive possessions can simply come down to whether or not shots are made. Great defense can result in a make a poor defense can result in a miss. At this point, I believe MSU’s three-point defense is a little bit of a mirage. I don’t believe opponents will continue to shoot 27 percent from three against them.

On the other end, I don’t believe Ohio State is going to sustain its woeful shooting in the paint, as they are shooting five percent worse in conference play than their season totals. The metrics indicate that Ohio State is not nearly as bad as its record.

Offensive regression is coming for the Buckeyes in a positive direction.

For Michigan State basketball, woeful shooting nights from Iowa, Maryland, and Rutgers are likely unsustainable. Sunday feels like a spot where Ohio State may see more shots fall than they have in the past two weeks.


If you can believe it, the projected line for this game is Ohio State -4. Given the Buckeyes’ struggles, I doubt it opens there. I do think the Buckeyes will be favored, but it will probably be in the neighborhood of two or three points.

Winning on the road in the Big Ten is very difficult, but I wouldn’t expect a terribly difficult road environment in Columbus on Sunday. The season has gone sideways for the Buckeyes, and this is a fan base that uses up most of their school spirit on football season. Throw in the early start on Super Bowl Sunday, and this could be a sleepy atmosphere.

With that said though, it feels way too easy to bet Michigan State as an underdog. It’s unfortunate timing, because it feels like the bottom for Ohio State was on Thursday against Northwestern.

The Buckeyes are desperate, and there is nothing more dangerous than a team with nothing to lose.

There aren’t a ton of advantages here for Ohio State, but this is a textbook gut check game for a program and a coach that knows they’re better than they’ve shown.

Final: Michigan State 65, Ohio State 72

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