Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Spartans Get Past the Buckeyes 67-58

Led by Kalin Lucas and his twenty points, Michigan State won its eighth consecutive game. The Spartans overcame a cold start as they missed 11 of their first 15 shots.

Player of the Game:
Kalin Lucas 20 points on 6-8 shooting.

What went well:
1) Kalin Lucas - He continued his recent domination of opponents by limiting turnovers and scoring effectively. Kalin has really stepped his game up and has done a complete 180 compared to the start of his season. Now he is truly living up to his super sophomore preseason hype.
2) Defense of Jon Deibler - Well, it probably was a combination of solid defense and his poor shooting. He came into this game extremely hot, but didn't shoot the ball well against us. He finished 2-8 from the field including 1-6 from behind the arc.
3) Three-point shooting - MSU finished 8-17 from three-point land making this the second consecutive game where they have shot better than 45% from distance. When we shoot the ball like that, we are extremely difficult to beat.
4) Rebounding - The Spartans again won the battle of the boards with a +8 advantage. Ohio State did manage to grab 11 offensive rebounds which was surprising since they rank near the bottom of the Big Ten in rebounding percentage.
5) Raymar Morgan - He had his third consecutive double-double despite poor shooting going 5-14 from the field. You can find a Drew Sharp column discussing how everything is coming together for Morgan here. Personally, I think this is way too premature. We need to see how Raymar plays against the best of the Big Ten. I also believe that the play of Lucas recently has been much more impressive than Morgan's.
6) Korie Lucious - He only played sparingly, but contributed solidly. I still believe that he is the most game ready freshman on this team. Watching him on the floor he appears that even might be a better passer than Lucas, although at this point statistics would not agree. I agree with Lavin on the idea that Izzo should try putting Lucious and Lucas on the floor at the same time. Heck, with both of those guys out there, the Spartans could really pressure the ball and force an uptempo game. Just an idea.

What didn't go well:
1) Shooting at the start of the game - Against a better team, we can't afford to get off to such a slow start. I would have liked to at least try to establish a presence inside initially. Instead, the very first shot was a three point attempt by Raymar Morgan. Eventually, however, we snapped out of our funk.
2) Goran Suton - This was his second consecutive performance where he struggled somewhat. He finished with 9 points and 9 rebounds which is respectable, but he went 2-6 from the line, made stupid fouls, and turned the ball over too much. Give credit to Dallas Lauderdale and BJ Mullens for their inside presence also. They combined for 5 official blocks, but altered many more shots than that.
3) Durrell Summers - Once again, Summers played essentially half of the game, but failed to impress. Yes, he did have three offensive rebounds which are invaluable, but he was 1-7 from the floor. I still think that he is shooting too many three pointers and needs to attack the basket more. I know he is currently shooting 48% from long distance, but I don't think that will last. Unlike Allen, he is not a pure shooter. He needs to be more like Mo Pete who could stroke it from distance, but preferred to take it to the hole if it was open. Please Summers, dunk more and shoot less.

Post Game Quotes:
"We found a way to win and that's the name of the game but I'm not sure we took a step forward today as far as getting better." - Tom Izzo

"We talked about pulling up, pulling up, pulling up and we just wanted to keep taking it in there so they could block shots."
-Tom Izzo on why he felt his gameplan didn't work

I find this second statement to be very interesting. Personally, I would prefer to attack shot blockers and force them into foul trouble. In fact, the Spartans essentially did this by forcing Lauderdale to the bench early in the first half. I would rather take my chances attacking the basket than settling for jump shots, especially in an era where athletes have not developed that mid-range game. But, he's the legendary coach and I write a blog.

That's ridiculous!
1) BJ Mullens' dunk and glare with thirty seconds left - What was this? Scoreboard you bastard! If I was Thad Matta, I would have called a time out and taken him out of the game right then just to prove a point. You can't be an idiot on national television.
2) The lame Breslin crowd - Nothing illustrated this more than when ESPN was having technical difficulties and switched to the WVU/UConn game. West Virginia's students were also on break, but their arena was loud and filled with plenty of excitement unlike the Breslin Center. From what I could see, the arena wasn't even full. Despite the poor atmosphere, the Spartans extended their home winning streak to 26 games.
3) Penn State basketball fans - Last night Penn State pulled off a shocking win over preseason Big Ten favorite Purdue in front of 4,014 people. Michigan State and North Carolina playing at Ford Field thinks this is ridiculous.
4) The Big Ten Tonight's stopwatch - The post game highlights timed how long it took Lucas to go baseline to baseline. He did it in 3.49 seconds. It wasn't exactly Tyus Edney though. No one really even guarded him. Thanks for the info though BTN.

Dear SpartyBasketball,

I have a few comments regarding your review of the "Greatest Stories of Michigan State Basketball Review":

1)Greg Kelser was excited to discuss his playing career. ANY athlete would talk like he did when they remember their career, especially when he was pretty much is in Ervin’s shadow historically speaking…and Kelser was a great player.. I am not sure he “loves” himself at all. If he did love himself, you’d hear about it all the time. I’ve met him a few times and he is the most gracious person.

2) Obviously, any coach is only as good as his players. Chuck Daily would not have taken the Pistons to two championships without his “Bad Boys”. UNC wouldn’t be going to the Finals without their Studs. Izzo did take that ’05 team to the Final Four because he was a very good coach and he got his players to play at the peak of their performance. They may have gone to the Finals if Anderson hadn’t torn up his knee- remember MSU was up by 5 points against UNC at the half, but then Anderson couldn’t answer the bell.

Anyway, keep up the good work. I enjoy reading the blog. Go Green!

-Mark, unknown location

First of all, I like Greg Kelser also. I was one year old when he was in his prime so I obviously don't know him as a player. I am familiar with how good he was though. From what I see of him on television now, I can see how he could be "the most gracious person". That is exactly why I found him to be so funny during the special. I especially liked the part where he said he noticed Larry Bird was guarding him and how he knew he was going to take advantage of it. Even if they knew it was true, most people would not call out Larry Legend like that. Apparently it was Greg's time to let the world know he was a college star.

Your second point is right on. Izzo got that 2005 team to peak at the perfect time. It was amazing.

Tomorrow: More Ohio State Post Game and I'll talk briefly about Tom Izzo's substitutions.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment or email me. All comments will be read, but not all of them will be published. I plan on picking a select few and discussing them on tomorrow's blog. Please leave a handle and your location. Email addresses are optional, but if you leave one, I can send you a message if I am going to publish your comment.