The Spartans lost here at Assembly Hall 71-62 tonight; Â it wasnâ€™t a shock. Â Despite Izzoâ€™s continued insistence that his team needs to play inside out rather than outside in, they continued not to.Â They havenâ€™t done it this season despite Izzoâ€™s consistent beating of the drum. The problem lies in their ability to recognize the need to go inside first and that they have to change their approach in order to be successful on the road.
Tom Izzo lamented, â€œI think Draymond Green said it best in our locker room, â€˜We had some chances, but it is our job to make some shots.â€™â€Â Izzo described his teams pathetic 37% shooting by saying, â€œI think Illinois made some tougher shots than we missed easier shots.â€
Izzo was not as upset about his teamâ€™s failure to play inside and told me, â€œWhen youâ€™re not shooting the ball well, people collapse on you. Â I really thought we had good enough shots.â€
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber was generous to his friend Tom Izzo, but admitted when I asked about MSUâ€™s failure to go inside, â€œWisconsin beat us last week because they went inside on us.â€
I asked the heart of the Illini, G Demetri McCamey about the Spartans continued outside shooting when they had success inside, â€œI wasnâ€™t surprised at all, they want to shoot jump shots.â€Â McCameyâ€™s comments seem to echo Alabama Head Coach Nick Sabanâ€™s thoughts on MSU going to the air in the Capital One Bowl.Â He said that MSU was stubborn and would still try to run when Bama stopped it anyway.
Durrell Summers didnâ€™t start after not wanting to go back into the Northwestern game this past weekend, but it wasnâ€™t the reason MSU lost today.Â The Spartans frankly couldnâ€™t hit a shot and stayed away from the inside.Â There is nothing wrong with being a jump shooting team.Â There is when you mirror Michigan from last year and canâ€™t hit them.
This Spartan team continues to struggle.Â The Devilâ€™s advocate would say that at 12-6 (4-2) the Spartans are just fine.Â Well the Devilâ€™s advocate doesnâ€™t play at MSU.Â That advocate doesnâ€™t have perhaps (admittedly by Izzo) one of his most talented teams in Spartan history.Â That same advocate hasnâ€™t reached Six Final Fours in 12 years.
The preseason #1 or #2 (depending on the polls) team is in a funk and with a date on the road against Purdue on Saturday the expectations for a quick turnaround are slim.
For now the Spartans fight.Â For now they endure.Â Somehow this team has to fight through the haze of a lack of confidence and confusion.Â Delvon Roe told me after the game, â€œThis team has been to Final Fours; we know what to do.â€Â I agree with Roe.Â The question is if they will do it?