Sunday, February 22, 2009

Michigan State Outlasts Wisconsin 61-50

So, I have to be honest, I didn't see us coming back in this game. Halfway through the second half, I could help but think to myself "Michigan State does this every year." We choke. We don't live up to expectations. We give up two game leads in the Big Ten with only 6 games remaining.

As you know, however, we didn't choke against Wisconsin. Due to a combination of good Spartan defense and a long Badger offensive drought, we were able to rally after being down 12 with 12 minutes left and win convincingly by 11.

Player of the Game: Goran Suton 16 points and 10 rebounds

What Went Well for the Spartans
1) Points in the Paint - We dominated this area of the game with a 32-16 advantage. Goran Suton led the way with 16 points, but I thought Delvon Roe looked very impressive. Roe played strong down low and gave us good looks at the basket. He would have even had a bigger impact if he could hit his free throws.
2) Shooting - Michigan State finished shooting over 47%. Their 52% second half was very impressive and reflects their emphasis in getting the ball down low. It should be pointed out that we finished 2-9 from the three-point line, but the two makes could not have been bigger. How many of you out there wanted Allen to chuck up that three at the end? I have a world of confidence in his shooting ability and I still cringed.
3) Defense - Contrary to our Wisconsin emailer below, I think the difference in this game was when we decided to go to playing full court defense. For some reason, this seemed to fluster Wisconsin and even produced a few turnovers on their part. Normally, our "press" doesn't do anything to our opponents since essentially we just shadow their players up the court with very little pressure. In this game, however, it worked. In the future, I hope Izzo lets our athletes play all out, Chris Kramer style.
4) Crowd - If we could only have the 1979 team in the house every day. Maybe it was them, or maybe it was just because we were playing Wisconsin, but the Izzone was feeling it. They should be that loud every game no matter who we are playing.

What Didn't Go Well for Michigan State
1) Turnovers - When people think of Tom Izzo led teams, I think people should associate the words "turnover prone" just as quickly as they do "good rebounding." I don't know what the answer is on this. I think that Lucas has good ball handling ability, but even he still turns it over. Some of it may be our structured offense and its lack of creativity.
2)Tom Herzog Starting - This is ridiculous. You can't start a guy against Wisconsin because he plays hard and didn't get in against Purdue during a blowout. I like Izzo's loyalty, but geez, mix Herzog in at an opportune time during the game. Not at the start of the game against our biggest rival and in front of the 1979 team. Tom, you do know that Herzog is in the Honor's College don't you?
3) Durrell Summers - He finished with 5 points and one rebound in 24 minutes. Once again, we need more from him. I'll spare Chris Allen just because he had that dagger at the end. He didn't play very well either.

While it is nice to see that the sky is not falling, I take little comfort in this win. We were a few Wisconsin baskets away from seeing our Big Ten championship go down the drain. Looking forward, we have to find a way to take care of the ball and how to score effectively. Our defense is solid, but it can only do so much unless we find ways to put the ball in the hoop.

Other Game Notes
1) Lucas Steal and Lay-up Familiar? - Was the Kalin Lucas steal and subsequent lay-up with 25 seconds left very similar to the Alando Tucker dunk back in 2003? Like Tucker's team, the Spartans were up by nine and the victory was sealed. Shouldn't Lucas have pulled the ball out and ran the clock out? I personally would have thrown it down myself, but I also wouldn't have bitched about Tucker's dunk.
2) Lucas Had Rare Dunk - I probably have overlooked it, but I can't remember Lucas every slamming one home before this game. It happened early in the second half. It was a simple one handed jam on a break.
3) Sutton Reamed for Shooting a Three - Did you see Izzo sit him down in the second half and get right in his face. I could read his lips and he said, "No threes. You need to get your ass inside." While I agree with him needing to be a force down low, you can't give him the green light to shoot from the perimeter all season long and then pull him out when he doesn't convert from distance.
4) Krabbenhoft Gettin' Cute - I loved seeing the bounce it off the guy on the inbounds play not work.

"I thought it was going to be our day when I started Herzog, and I did that because I didn't put him in at Purdue when I put everyone else in. The kid has worked so hard, and has been in here everyday so I apologized to him and told him I was going to start him the next game."
--Tom Izzo

So Coach, you are telling me that because he didn't get to play one minute in Purdue like all of the other scrubs, he gets to start and play three minutes against the badgers? That doesn't make any sense. If you told me that you liked the way he played in the Big Ten Tournament last year against Wisconsin, I would have given you a break. If you remember, everyone got in foul trouble forcing Izzo to go to Herzog. He played great then. Well, considering.....

"Goran has to bring it every minute of every game and as happy as I am for him, don't think he's off the hook. He has skills and abilities to do a lot of things, and so how I am going to get that out of him in the next three weeks because that kid could be a very good player."
--Tom Izzo

It's a run-on sentence, but I like it. Feed the big man. Tell him to stop labeling other teams as being dirty.

"Jud looks like he needs a whiskey on the rocks."
--My wife in reference to a shot of Jud sitting in his suite.

He probably was pissed that he had to watch this game.


I am Wisconsin fan and I can appreciate what Michigan State's success on the national stage has done for the Big Ten. I also respect the athleticism of State's players year after year. Most of the aspects of the Spartan program that I respect. However, I have no respect for how Tom Izzo acts on the sideline. Bo does his share of lobbying the officials, but he recognizes when a legitimate foul was called against his team. By the way Izzo reacts, you would think that his team never fouls (which makes you wonder why else he recruited Al Anagonye). It's just childish and disrespectful to the game. Also, obviously Wisconsin didn't quite have it today and didn't seem to think they needed to score in the second half to win, but it's too bad the momentum changing play of the game came after a no-call on a double dribble by Suton.

Kirke, Somewhere in Wisconsin

First of all, thanks for visiting the blog. Let me respond to this with a few different points.
1) It's classy to recognize Michigan State's accomplishments on a national level. Unfortunately, they haven't translated to success in the Big Ten in recent years. Wisconsin takes that honor, even with less touted players.
2) Most realistic Michigan State fans recognize Izzo as a whiner. In fact, I just told a buddy today that Izzo is the kind of coach that you love to have (yeah, even I appreciate Izzo), but if he is on another team, you hate him. His red-ass face and flailing arms even annoy me and I'm one of the biggest MSU fans around. But, I have to say, most of the time, I agree with him on the calls he is arguing. I don't think that he acts like that just because he wants to. For instance, today, I found him getting upset numerous times at the refs, not for the actual fouls that they called, but when they called them. There were a few obvious fouls where it seemed like the officials half-swallowed their whistles making me think they were going to let it go, but then only to finally call the foul. That really pissed me and Izzo off.
3) Most Spartans wish we still had Al Anagonye. Ever since he left, we have lacked toughness.
4) I know what play you are talking about with Suton, but I disagree with you on a couple of points. First of all, I don't think that it was the momentum changer. As I mentioned above, I thought it was the full court press. You could also argue it was Wisconsin's inability to hit shots. Secondly, I think that the ball was actually hit out of Suton's hands allowing him to take another dribble before putting the shot up. I thought it looked funny initially, but on the replay, that's how it appeared to me. I did not hear what the announcers had to say about it.

Tomorrow - I'll try to get to some quick hits, but it may have to wait until Tuesday.

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.