Sunday, February 01, 2015

My thoughts on the MSU victory over Michigan Sunday

It might be a little harsh to suggest Michigan at Michigan State Saturday represented how far the mighty have fallen. But not only weren't the Wolverines nor the Spartans ranked in the latest AP Poll, neither squad garnered as much as a vote. Considering just last season both teams were in the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament, Michigan won the Big Ten regular season title and MSU the Big Ten Tournament Championship, it was. well, different.
Michigan did well to push the Spartans to overtime before losing 76-66 without either Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton Jr. - arguably the Wolverines two best players.
Neither team features the top-line NBA prospects they had in the recent past, and MSU should beat Michigan based on the experience of key players such as Travis Trice, Branden Dawson, Denzel Valentine and Matt Costello. The Spartans are stronger inside, too, because Gavin Schilling is a gifted, if not consistent, big man.
Saturday's game seemed to be kind of a continuation of Michigan coach John Beilein getting the most out of his team, while Tom Izzo is struggling to find a way with his Spartans.
I do think the handwriting is on the wall for Michigan. The Wolverines are going to struggle to make the NCAA tournament. It was going to be difficult enough without the injuries, and Sunday was a bit like last Saturday's defeat to Wisconsin, a classic moral victory.
If the Wolverines get into the Big Dance, the run will likely be short. But I do see some potential for growth for the Spartans. They are going to win 20-plus games. At 6-3 in the Big Ten, they could have a high placement in the conference regular season standings. Izzo has a well-established propensity for building to a crescendo late in the regular season and during tournament time. He has some pieces to work with, too. The keys are obvious. Valentine played very well Sunday, but he and Dawson and Trice simply have not developed that will that has been the trademark of the Spartans' upper classmen in the past. But there is still time. Don't be surprised if Izzo makes the most of it.

My column. Red Wings provide reasons why they are legit contenders to win Stanley Cup championship:

My column. MLB needs a pitch clock and to limit extreme defensive shifts:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat can you provide your thoughts on why Izzo didn't give his freshmen or sophomores significant minutes today (other than Schilling)? Don you see it as a lack of trust in, or a lack of development of, these younger players so they aren't able to compete effectively in games that had today's circumstances.

How do you think Izzo would do coaching a team that was really, really young like the Wolverines have been the last 4 years? He has always had rosters that were top heavy with big, strong,,physically mature upperclassmen. I don't think he has coached a team that depended almost completely on the performance of multiple young freshmen and sophomores to win games ..Your thoughts?

6:23 PM 

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