Thursday, January 29, 2009

Michigan State Pulls Away From Iowa 71-56

The athleticism of Michigan State proved to be too much for the undermanned Iowa Hawkeyes. Led by Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers, Michigan State recorded their fifth consecutive conference road victory.

Player of the Game - Durrell Summers 21 points on 7-9 shooting.

What Went Well for MSU:
1) Durrell Summers - This makes his second consecutive game with 20+ points. If he did them in the same week, he would have been Big Ten Player of the Week for sure. It's funny how one week ago, I didn't know if Summers would ever be capable of putting up numbers like he has even as a senior. Undoubtedly he is playing phenomenally, but his reliance on outside shooting still worries me. With him making so many three lately, I would think that he will have more opportunities to drive to the basket in upcoming games.
2) Kalin Lucas - Had an equally impressive game, but we are starting to expect this from him. He was able to take full advantage of his quickness in this game and finished with 24 points on 9-13 shooting.
3) Three Point Shooting - Led by Durrell Summers, the Spartans finished 5-9 from behind the arc.
4) Izzo Came to His Senses - He only played Raymar Morgan 8 minutes this game due to his illness, which was still 8 minutes too many.

What Didn't Go Well for MSU:
1) Turnovers - Once again, we started the game with way too many turnovers. The Spartans finished with 14 for the game, but had 9 in the first half. We really need to find a way to turn this around.
2) Rebounding - Of course, this is only relative. MSU still won the rebounding battle by a +8 margin. This is less than their season average though and Iowa did grab 8 offensive rebounds in this game. Michigan State pulled down 11 off of the offensive glass.
3) Points in the Paint - Izzo surprised me by not exploiting Iowa's lack of size. I thought that we should have went big against them and pounded the ball down low. It would have been a great game to go with Suton and Gray for significant periods of time to work on their offensive games. Instead, MSU only edge Iowa in points in the paint 28-22. When we have to rely on outside shooting to win games, I don't like our chances. In this game, however, it worked out.
4) MSU Caught Sleeping - I don't know if you saw it, but there was a play where Iowa inbounded the ball from their own basket, went the length of the floor with one dribble, and scored a layup on us while we weren't paying attention. That was rediculous. I've never seen that happen to a Spartan team.

Other Game Notes
1) Todd Lickliter is Doing a Great Job - Iowa does not have near the talent that his previous teams at Butler did, but they have still managed to stay competitive with teams in this conference. Their win against Wisconsin with these players was phenomenal and they have played OSU and Minnesota close. Heck, they were impressive in their comeback against us. I hope that Lickliter gets a few more years at Iowa before he is pushed out the door.

"I think it was a big win for us, believe it or not. It was probably the best we got our running game going, got off to a good start. Our speed was a big advantage." --Tom Izzo

I saw this Michigan State team extend their defense for the first time this season. They were picking players up beyond full court and actually pressuring the ball a little bit. They still could pressure the ball more, but I like the idea of our guards pestering other teams as they bring the ball up.

"I'm kind of on this team right now because I still don't think we have the focus you need every day, every practice." --Tom Izzo

Why does this happen to our team every single year? Why can't they focus?

The editor of sent me a fun article about how bad Indiana is this year. You can find the link here.

Tomorrow - More Iowa Post Game.

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