– If you’d told Tom Izzo before the game that MSU would outrebound UK and get 17 points from Kenny and Nick versus 10 for all five of UK’s post players combined, I suspect he’d have figured MSU had a very good chance to win. Didn’t happen, obviously.
– The defensive gameplan was sound and, for the most part, executed well. Monk has a rep as a streaky shooter. He’s been terrible in their first two games but he caught fire tonight. Note he was the only Wildcat to hit a triple (7 of them) and the team shot 32%. Those are again numbers MSU would have taken.
– The loss is attributable to two things, both in the final result and the margin of defeat…MSU could not shoot to save their lives and the turnovers were ridiculous. 5-26 from deep. Only 32% overall. 3-9 at the line. 20 turnovers. It was a horror show all the way around and it’s a simple, simple thing…MSU cannot win playing that way offensively. They actually did the things they needed to do on the glass and on defense to be in this game. Normally at MSU, that’s the equation to victory but rarely do we see offensive games like this one.
– I’m hardly panicked but some things are very obvious:
Eron Harris has to figure it out, now. Immediately. He has it in him but it’s pointless to keep talking about that if he’s not going to demonstrate it on the floor when the lights are on. This is a young team. They NEED their veterans to lead the way. On a night where Miles was clearly pressing WAY too much, you expect an Eron Harris to grab a hold of things and calm it down. Instead he had 3 TOs and spotty defense in 13 minutes. He’s on notice now. I’m not saying that, Tom Izzo is, by virtue of the way he sat his ass in the second half.
Kenny Goins and Nick Ward have demonstrated that, if healthy, they can get the job done in the paint. They’ve gone through arguably two of the toughest physical tests they’ll face (Duke, Louisville and Purdue will post similar challenges) and clearly passed. That’s encouraging and maybe one of the few good things to come out of this game.
I don’t know what to say about the jumpshooting. Izzo says it’s a great shooting team..he ought to know. They’ve got guys who have shown it in the past (Harris, McQuaid, Ellis) not hitting thus far. It’s two games, but at the very least the lesson should be learned…they can’t afford to not shoot well collectively. Period.
Not much else to say. I thought all the freshmen but Miles had games to build on, with some nice positive things (I was impressed with Cassius defensively…Miles better than last Friday). MSU needs more from its veterans and it needs Miles to grow up in a hurry. I don’t mean that as a knock on him, because he’s still a teenager, but he can’t have a rough night and allow it to spiral on him the way this one did. I love his heart and toughness…he was the high rebounder on the floor easily with 12 and he was active defensively…but he’s got to be able to recognize when to dial it back. Of course, it would help if someone like Harris could step up and help him.