– In these games, as often as not it can be decided simply by endurance…who’s got enough energy to get out and run, make shots, get to loose balls, etc. MSU and Purdue are working wtih the same amount of rest, so that’s not a factor. I do think Zel and Bryn have played heavy minutes (though they did get some rest against OSU). Purdue had 3 guys go over 30 today but no one near Zel’s 37 minutes.
More than that, though, I think MSU had a big difference with the Boilers in terms of the mental energy they had to expend today. Michigan didn’t really fade completely away until fairly late…I think they had it down to 6 with maybe 6 or 7 minutes to go. That said, it was nowhere near the test MSU got from Maryland. So it’ll be interesting to see what kind of resolve and reserves of mental energy as much as the physical end MSU can muster up.
– I’ve just watched the clip of Paul interviewing Dane Fife and he went through exactly what I feel is the big key to this game in terms of MSU’s defense. You start by doing what you can to root out Purdue’s big men. Get them out of their comfort zone as best you can. After that, though, MSU’s guards have to do a better job digging down than we saw in West Lafayette. Especially when Purdue had it rolling in the first half, MSU’s guards just didn’t do much to disrupt the timing of their big kids, and then they were also late in recovery to shooters. That’s the worst of both worlds and you can’t have it against that team.
– Purdue went 8-16 from three in the first meeting. I do not anticipate that kind of day from them tomorrow, in part because they’re not that good from deep and in part because it’s the third game in three days and you’d expect the threes to be a bit of a struggle for teams which are a bit tired.
– Offensively, I would love to see MSU commit to pushing the pace. I don’t know how much of that they’ll be able to do in terms of energy but if you can make Purdue, especially their big people, run, that is a big, big positive. Purdue does create some of the same problems Maryland caused in the second half today in that they’re a good rebounding team (better than Maryland on the season, in fact) and if they’re preventing clean defensive rebounds for MSU, it’ll make the break harder to get into.
– I agree with something the guys said on the V Cast as well. This could be a game where Marvin Clark pays dividends, because Swanigan just is not comfortable chasing guys around the arc. Marv’s been playing (and shooting) better and better and I think when Swanigan is at the 4, that presents a potential opportunity for MSU to exploit the matchup.