Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Izzo Starts to Limit the Bench

After watching the first three conference games, I wanted to address the substitution patterns of Coach Izzo. Earlier in the year I had mentioned that Tom Izzo normally starts the year off playing 10-11 guys and by tournament time, he whittles it down to 7 or 8. (Story can be found here). Well, I think we are beginning to see this early in conference play. It appears that we have solidified our regular starting five and we know that Allen, Summers, and either Gray or Ibok are going to be the guys coming in off the bench. Sure, occasionally some of the others are going to get into the game, but they shouldn't see extensive playing time barring a disaster.

This is the way I like it. I'm not very fond of letting players like Green, Thornton, and Dahlman get chunks of playing time in meaningful games just so they can get experience. That is what practice is for. We need to put our best players on the court as much as we can and then substitute as the need arises. I don't feel that Coach Izzo always does this, especially early in the non-conference portion of our schedule. This may account for the disparity that can be found between his regular season and post-season accomplishments.

Michigan State Notes:
1) Joe Rexrode misses the Izzone - Find the article here. Undoubtedly, the team misses students, but I don't think they necessarily miss the Izzone. Having been a member of the Izzone during the glory years ('97-01), I honestly can say that the impact of this formal student section is vastly overrated. Don't get me wrong, I think the group brings an energy that was lacking before the Izzone was created, but they are no Cameron Crazies.
2) No official word regarding the retirement of Morris Peterson's jersey - I don't really understand how MSU doesn't know by now. We will have to wait and see.

Around the Big Ten:
1) Michigan pulls one out in overtime against IU - Didn't see the game, but they obviously struggled. IU had an open look for the game winner at the end of regulation but couldn't convert. Michigan then capitalized on this and came home with the victory. I can't really figure the Wolverines out.
2) Wisconsin destroyed Northwestern - Northwestern continued to live and die by the three point shot. In this game, they definitely died. They finished 3-17 from beyond the arc. On the other hand, Wisconsin appears to be living up to their reputation of flying somewhat under the radar only to capture yet another Big Ten championship. In my opinion, the schedule is definitely in their favor as they do not have to travel to the Breslin Center this year.

Hey Sparty Basketball,

That was a great win, we're 3-0! ........Suton looks continually out-matched on defense. He is getting beat everytime and I think it is time to get Ibok and Gray a few more minutes if only for the improved effort/athleticism. Lucas, however, continues to impress.
-A-Fed, Saginaw

Yeah, Suton has not looked good in his last two games, especially on the defensive end. Maybe his knee is still hurting him. Hopefully he snaps out of this funk quickly.

I can't tell you why Izzo didn't play Gray more and why Ibok didn't even see the floor. It doesn't make sense. My argument against Gray would be that you don't know how much effort he is going to give you. He's a true basketcase that will hit for 18 points one night and then zero points and 5 turnovers the next.

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