Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Spartans Pound Minnesota 70-58

I love it when I am wrong! The Spartans came out with an amazing effort and got a huge road win to start the Big Ten season. They played essentially flawless and flourished under the leadership of Kalin Lucas. While he was scoring easily throughout the game, the entire team clamped down on defense to keep the Gophers' high scoring offense in check.

Player of the Game: Kalin Lucas - Career high 24 points on 9-18 shooting.

What went well:
1) Tremendous rebounding. The Spartans outrebounded the Gophers 49-27, including a 23-11 offensive rebouding advantage. This is purely a result of Coach Izzo's emphasis on winning the battle on the boards.
2) Kalin Lucas played superb. He looked like a true floor general out there today. He pushed the ball effectively and used his quickness to get easy baskets. He is going to make me eat my words about how I thought he was on pace to tie Drew Neitzel for the worst offseason regression ever.
3) Chris Allen got hot in the first half. The box score doesn't adequately reflect Allen's impact on this game. He got hot quickly and set the tone for the Spartans early in the game. You have to admire the confidence that this kid has despite not shooting the ball well so far this year. He has never seen a shot that he didn't like.
4) Great defense. We held the Gophers to a season low 39% from the field.
5) Superior Athletes. Newsflash: The team with the best athletes normally wins. That was us today. Minnesota just couldn't keep pace with our boys.

What didn't go well:
1) Raymar Morgan's Offense. He tried his best to disappear in this big game, but ended up with one of the ugliest double-doubles I have ever seen. He did not travel however, so I am thankful for that.
2) Contributions from the bench. Aside from Allen, we didn't get much from our bench today. Other than his olley-oop and his thunderous dunk, I didn't like what I saw from Summers gain. He continues to rely on an outside shot that I don't believe is legit. Even with Roe hurt, Marquise didn't find his way onto the court after he played a total of seven minutes despite not being in foul trouble. Why doesn't Izzo just tell Gray that he hates him? I mean, this guy is a basketcase, but why play Draymond Green over him? That makes no sense.

Post Game Quotes:
"When a team beats you by 22 on the boards, you have no chance of winning" - University of Minnesota Coach Tubby Smith

"....I'd say this was one of our best games"- Tom Izzo

That's ridiculous!
1) Booing Dahlman is ridiculous. The only thing more ridiculous was the fact that he got on the floor at all. Why was he playing? Because he is from Minnesota? Give me a break Coach! Everyone knows that Dahlman can't do anything without the chemistry of his fellow practice squad teammates Mike Kleber and Jon Crandell.
2) Durrell Summers' dunk not being replayed on the live broadcast. I think it was the best dunk I've ever seen him do, but I'm not sure because I can't remember it. I think he dunked right on a Gopher but if that were the case, it seems like he would have been fouled. So far, I can't find that highlight anywhere.
3) University of Minnesota Sweeper Logos. Did you notice how the University of Minnesota logo'd up their court mops with their weird block M?
4) Goran Suton getting stuffed by the rim. For all of those fans out there who wonder why he doesn't dunk more, that is why. He looked hideous!
5) This picture of Draymond Green. What could have he done that warrented this pose? All I saw him do was make a nice steal only to be caught from behind and stripped on his way to the basket.
6) Anthony Crater leaving OSU after listening to his AAU coach. This coach was quoted as saying that Noopy always had a "two- or three-year plan" at OSU and then off to the NBA. Now it is a two- or three- year plan at Mott.
Full articles here and here

Post Game Quotes:
"When a team beats you by 22 on the boards, you have no chance of winning" - University of Minnesota Coach Tubby Smith

"....I'd say this was one of our best games"- Tom Izzo

Great blog, enjoyed it. I think you have to add "make free throws" to the Spartans' keys to success. We're getting killed at the line and this could really cost us.
-ShowtimeSparty in Ferndale.

Undoubtedly, that belongs on my keys to the Spartans' success. I have mentioned before on this blog, but somehow left it out of my Big Ten Preview. The good news is that yesterday, we were 12-13 from the charity stripe. Thanks for the email.

Tomorrow: More Minnesota Post Game

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