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.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

MSU Basketball Notes

MSU Basketball Notes
1) Summers and Allen Key to Spartan's Fate - Link to complete article here. Despite Summers' career game, I still think that Allen will have the biggest impact. Look at the big games against Memphis last year and UNC this year. He stepped his game up. He is just in a funk. Don't expect Summers to go for more than twenty again this year. If he does, that will just be a bonus.
2) Newsflash: Raymar Morgan is Still Sick - No links needed. Every major newspaper has a story about it. I like Vern Lundquist's description best from the game on Sunday. "He has a upper chest viral infection." Joe Rexrode states in the LSJ today that the problem with Morgan is that "he can't go hard for long periods ." Link can be found here. I don't know if you have been watching Joe, but Morgan can't give us 30 seconds of effective play.

Around the Big Ten
1) Purdue Pulls One Out at Wisconsin - To the dismay of Spartans everywhere, Robbie Hummel hit a three with one minute left to put Purdue up for good. You know if that was Michigan State, Wisconsin would have pulled it out somehow. Can Bo Ryan ever give us a break? Protect your home floor.

That's Ridiculous
1) PETA Ad Rejected by NBC - You would think the network would kill a PETA commercial because they are a bunch of nut jobs, but apparently this commercial titled "Go Veg" was too risque.

"For Durrell to pound his chest and feel good about something (as he did against the Buckeyes) — that's like Marquise (Gray) doing cartwheels down the floor. It's just not his style. I told him I kind of enjoyed that." --Tom Izzo

Emotion, no emotion....It doesn't matter to me. Just take the ball to the rack and if you are going to shoot threes, make sure you make them.

Tomorrow - Iowa Preview

Monday, January 26, 2009

MSU Basketball Notes

MSU Basketball Notes:
1) Spartans Ranked #9 in Both Polls - MSU only slipped one spot after their horrible loss at home to Northwestern and a come from behind win at Ohio State. We couldn't have asked for more than that.
2) Tom Izzo Thinks the Big Ten is Legit - In the Big Ten teleconference Monday, Tom Izzo stated that the conference is the toughest in the nation when examined from top to bottom. Full story here. Bo Ryan says "A lot depends on how the media spins it. Here in the Midwest, it's easy to see that the Big Ten is a pretty tough contest." I agree. Our conference has one miserable team, but all of the others could beat any team in the country given they have a good night.
3) Sit Down Big Fella' - A writer for the State News calls for Raymar Morgan to sit down until he is fully healthy. The link can be found here. The article is best summarized by this excerpt: "If Morgan’s presence was indispensable..., I would feel differently about the matter." I completely agree.

Around the Big Ten
1) Purdue Heads to Wisconsin - The Badgers are coming off of a four game losing streak, but they are always hard to beat at home. That's why they are favored by one point over the Boilermakers. I'd take the Badgers at home.
2) Kevin Coble - Was named the Co-Big Ten Player of the Week. Was there any question?

That's Ridiculous
1) Kevin Coble Sharing the Big Ten Player of the Week Honor - The powers that be said that Jamelle Cornley of Penn State had just as good of a week. Apparently the conference believes that Coble's 31 points in the Breslin center and 21 in Ann Arbor is equal to two double-doubles against Michigan and Iowa at home. Que John Stossel.....Give me a break.
2) Iowa Giving Away Basketball Tickets to Students - What the hell is wrong with Hawkeye fan? Indiana lowering their balcony prices to $5 for the first time in history thinks that you are ridiculous. So far, over 2000 students have taken advantage of the promotion for the nationally televised game. The story can be found here.
3) Oklahoma State Students Are Idiots - Did anyone catch the highlights of the OSU/Oklahoma game? Did you see the ice storm that hit Stillwater? While it is understandable that Oklahomans aren't used to ice, I have no idea how ESPN was able to capture these idiot students completely falling on their asses. Note to Oklahoma State students: Ice is slippery. You need to use a little caution when you walk on it. Check the video below. I especially like the guy with the backpack.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Michigan State Makes Convincing Comeback to Take Down the Buckeyes 78-67

Michigan State bounced back nicely with another road win in the Big Ten. Led by Durrell Summers career high 26 points and Kalin Lucas's 20 second half points, the Spartans came from behind to beat the Buckeyes 78-67. It was a very nice win.

Player of the Game - Durrell Summers 26 points (8-13 FGs, 6-9 3-pt)

What Went Well for MSU:
1) Durrell Summers - Summers had arguably the best Spartan performance of the year so far. His hot shooting single-handedly kept MSU in this game. While I still don't have complete confidence in his outside shooting and would rather see him attack the basket, the fact that he finished 6-9 from distance shows that he is a better shooter than I give him credit for. He provided the outside shooting that I thought was going to be key to winning this game. Hopefully he uses this game as a springboard for the future.
2) Rebounding - Michigan State did even a better job on boards in this game than in the previous contest against the Buckeyes. They finished with a +16 rebounding margin and limited OSU to only 3 offensive rebounds. In the first game, Ohio State managed to grab 12 offensive boards.
3) Kalin Lucas - Like the Spartans, the play of Kalin Lucas was the tale of two halves. In the first half, Lucas had trouble adjusting to coming off of the bench as he and Travis Walton were penalized for not meeting an academic goal. He looked terrible out there missing numerous good looks and turning the ball over several times. In fact, there was a good three or four minute stretch where Izzo stuck with Korie Lucious instead of Lucas due to his poor play. But after halftime, Kalin took over scoring all 20 of his points in the second half. He was able to attack the zone effectively with great penetration and may have been just as valuable as Durrell Summers in getting the victory.
4) Goran Suton - Suton continued to be the unsung hero for the Spartans. He finished with 13 points and 9 rebounds which was impressive given the statures of Dallas Lauderdale and B.J. Mullens down low. While the Buckeye big men probably have more talent, as Clark Kellog pointed out, Suton has more experience and he used it wisely to outperform Lauderdale and Mullens.
5) Free Throw Shooting - The Spartans finished 14-19 from the free throw line, good for 73%.

What Didn't Go Well for MSU:
1) Raymar Morgan - Whether he was sick or not, Raymar Morgan played terribly. He finished 1-4 from the field and with 4 points. Joe Rexrode stated in his blog this morning that Raymar got sick right before the game yesterday. If that is true, then again, why is he playing? There are two possibilities: 1) He doesn't convey how sick he is to Coach Izzo or 2) Coach Izzo is the worst guy ever and makes Morgan play because he thinks that we can't win without him. Yeah, I'm thinking number theory number one also.
2) 3-Pt Defense - The Spartans did not defend well against the three-point shot in this game. The Buckeyes finished 10-20 from behind the arc led by Jon Diebler who was 3-6. I thought Ohio State got way too many open looks as a result of blown coverage, especially on designed plays after a timeout.

"As you can imagine, it's a big win against a quality opponent on the road, especially after coming off that devastating loss last Wednesday." --Tom Izzo

"I was just being aggressive. Coach has been telling me all week - really, all year - just be ready to shoot and be aggressive." --Durrell Summers.

"We played one heck of a basketball team today," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "We did some things very well, but we just weren't able to sustain what we needed to do. Credit to Michigan State." --Thad Matta, Ohio State coach.

"It's not very much fun guarding a team for 35 seconds, then they take a shot and get the ball for 35 seconds again," Diebler said. "They're a great basketball team and they made us pay." --Jon Diebler, Ohio State guard, regarding Michigan State offensive rebounding.

Tomorrow - More Ohio State Post Game.