Miles Bridges soars up and over a HBU defender. Photo courtesy of Sofiya Stumpos

 

 

 

 

 

Three Up OR Down:  Michigan State Basketball 12 Games In

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Three Up or Down:  the three Parts of the #2 Michigan State basketball that are trending up or down now after the beat down of Houston Baptist.

  1. DOWN Three Point Defense The Spartans make too many mistakes when they are defending against the three. Some of their opponents have just missed shots, but the Spartans often pick up fouls, overcompensate and leave things open or foul.  Izzo said it best “We said we were going to contest 3s, we out-fouled them. We didn’t contest them very good they just missed some shots.”
  2. Down TURNOVERS Izzo bemoaned them last night like I have never heard him.  He said, “I think we lead the world – Italian basketball, Spanish basketball, Russian basketball, Chinese basketball, French basketball, and American basketball – I think we lead the world in unforced turnovers. We come down, throw the ball up – first play of the game – right into a guy’s arms. And those things are just, you know, they’re not something we can take lightly anymore because they’re happening on a regular basis, that’s the way we started out in the Oakland game.  So, somebody’s not getting the message. So, tonight was a second time-and-out rule, next time it’s going to be a first time-and-out rule. If people are playing scared, good. They should be.”  There is a fine line between being really good and great.  Championship great.  Izzo know this team can be championship great, but not if his team can’t stop turnovers.
  3. UP Izzo’s Best Team This is Izzo’s best team. With that said you have to understand that they are playing for another level.  Some think and email saying Izzo is too tough.  He understands as good as they are they can lost games.  Heading into the tournament in Denzel Valentine’s senior year the Spartans were the best team in the nation and lost it all.  There is an element of luck, but this is his best team and he knows it.

EXTRA POINT:  Perspective

Izzo loves this team.  He knows that the only thing standing in their way for a title is themselves.  Understanding that, last night he was talking to the media, but sending a message to his team:

“Since I’ll get blamed tomorrow on everything, this is one time I get to blame everybody else because everybody tells them how great they are and it’s hard to handle that. It’s hard to handle that and we got out worked by a team that’s worse than us. To win big games and again I watched a great, great story today on the coach from Georgia and they showed a clip up 61 to something and him going off and they said he’s coaching to make sure his team plays at a championship level every day. Sometimes I worry about too much that’s said, too much that’s out there and I know what it’s like to win a championship and I know what you have to do to win a championship. I know what you got to do to win a conference championship, I know what you got to do to be a very good team. To hell with the championships because in all fairness and honesty you can be really good and not lucky enough to win one. I know what it takes to be a very good, very good basketball team. Right now, we’re good. Good as I always say to my players, you know what’s good, its average and average is C’s. Any of you fathers or mothers in here happy when your kids getting C’s because I’m not. I don’t need to be average and we’re not that far away and we can do some incredible things, but on a consistent basis we have not rebounded as well as we need to and we’ve turned the ball over too much and that has not changed since last year on the turnovers. Since last year on the turnovers, I should be blamed so I hope everyone does blame me because I should be blamed. If that has consistently gone on, that’s my fault.” 

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