Wednesday, February 3, 2010

UW-Michigan State thoughts

I'll remember that.

Great win for the program -- three over top-five teams in the same year, pretty cool. Michigan State is still comfortably in the driver's seat to win the Big Ten (pending the status of Kalin Lucas's ankle, obviously), but this puts us in great position in the battle for second place and really helps our NCAA Tournament seeding.

-So we can win with Jon Leuer ... and now it looks like we can win without Trevon Hughes. That was a real stinker of a game by Pop, but kudos to everyone who picked up the slack around him. he did have seven assists.

-Full disclosure: due to DVR scheduling conflicts (thanks, Lost!), I really only saw the second half. So I didn't see the better halves put in by Jason Bohannon and Jordan Taylor, and the half in which we established control. But even just watching the second half it was apparent that State's defense was not dictating anything Tuesday night, not to the extent that they did in Lasnsing. But we didn't let them dictate, either.

-Taylor is shooting more of a true jump shot lately than he did before. Up until recently, it seemed like he only took jumpers where he had a lot of room and was able to shoot more of a set shot. Now he is releasing at the apex of his leap. One in particular came in the second half near the end of the shot clock and Jordan drained a 3-pointer. Running back downcourt he had a smirk on his face, a cross between cockiness and apology. It was cool.

-During the part of the game I watched, State's biggest defensive deficiency was guarding our high screen and roll. Their guards just seemed to not be mentally sharp, a step slow, or a bad combination of the two. At least twice when Hughes handled the ball in these situations and the guy checking him ran into his teammate after Keaton Nankivil's screen.

-Brief aside: I'm watching Illinois play at Iowa right now, and Illinois fans have populated an entire section of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, behind the basket Iowa is now shooting at. It's almost like a home game for the Illini. That is just embarrasing if you're an Iowa fan. Is there a deeper story behind this, like a wealthy alumnus bought out the section? How could Iowa let that happen?

-With all due respect to Lucas and hopes for a speedy return, god forbid a Big Ten team lose a really important player to injury: Leuer, Evan Turner, Kevin Coble, et al. I hope those guys all got flowers from Brent Musberger and Steve Lavin, as I'm guessing Lucas did this morning. Erin Andrews' report on Leuer's status was not exactly reassuring, quoting Jon as saying, "I just hope I can come back this year." At least he's lifting and shooting.

-Nankivil really picked his spots well in the game, as did Rob Wilson. Wilson has really done a nice job of not forcing things, probably because he knows he's getting more playing time and doesn't feel like he needs to make something happen in his limited minutes.

-In the postgame Bo Ryan got fairly choked up telling Erin what a great job Greg Gard coaching the scout team in practice, preparing our kids for what State was going to run. This came about 30 seconds after Musberger and Lavin took a break from talking about Lucas's ankle to rave about Gard, Gary Close and Howard Moore. Assistant basketball coaches rarely get the credit they deserve, at least in relation to their football counterparts, so that gushing was nice.

Bo owns Izzo. Still.


Tom said...

Well I'll tell ya, not much from Steve or Brent during the game really impressed me. It seemed that the first time they/Erin talked about Wisconsin was when they mentioned Jon's injury with about 5 mins left in the game. Nothing new here though, as the Purdue game last week was almost worse because they focused on Painter and even took up roughly a quarter of the screen showing Painter's bid for a foul call. Comical.

Wow, Illinois fans chanting "This is our house" at Iowa...and "Air ball"

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