Three Up OR Down: #9 Michigan State Basketball After 20 Games

Three up or down: the three Parts of the #9 Michigan State basketball that are trending up or down now.

  1. UP Nick Ward The Spartans big man is playing his way up draft boards and is top of mind on opponents scout sheets. When he dictates the game and doesn’t allow others to do it he is a beast. Indiana head coach Archie Miller said. “They have the best rim-runner in college basketball in Nick Ward, and they forced the action and the transition game.” “Nick was a lot better tonight,” MSU coach Tom Izzo said. “That, too, was important for us.”
  2. UP Spartan Physicality With the refs letting the game get significantly more physical in the Big Ten Tom Izzo is going back to his tough physical practices. Cassius Winston said, “A couple drills you could see blood on people’s arms and stuff. Maybe four or five people had blood on them. It’s just getting back to that physical, physical nature.”
  3. UP Izzo’s Mental State of Mind Tom Izzo and Nick Saban are the two most detailed coaches and people that I have ever met. Perhaps that is why they are the best coaches in their professions? After the Indiana win, it was good to hear Izzo compartmentalize his feelings. “We screwed up some defensive assignments, that’s why I’m not really as pleased as I should be. But when you play with energy, you make up for it. So if somebody screws up, somebody else makes up for it. That’s kind of what I was most excited about.”

EXTRA POINT: Aggressive Spartans are Successful Spartans

If you noticed one thing versus Indiana it was that the Spartans found their aggression. They took it to the Hoosiers. Is that aggressive a key to the goals ahead of them? Izzo addressed it.

“Well, I think you could say that about a lot of guys in the last couple of games. I thought Miles (Bridges) was a lot more aggressive. I thought Cassius (Winston) was a lot more aggressive tonight. You know, I don’t know what happened, guys, in that week and a half period. We’re young. Now that we’ve won a game I can say that we’re young and our inexperience shows at times. When guys aren’t getting guys the ball, if the ball’s not moving, then guys like (Joshua) Langford and in all honesty, Matt McQuaid, they get lost in the shuffle a little bit. I thought a lot of guys played better. Nick Ward, I mean, we went to him but if you say, well if we don’t other teams will double him. The only reason they couldn’t double him was he had a lot of baskets off the break. He got in there before he was doubled. There’s no question our bench played better. Tum (Nairn Jr.) did some good things defensively. You know, I thought Kenny Goins did some good things defensively. Xavier (Tillman) and Gavin (Schilling) did some things there. But Miles was more aggressive. Cassius was better in that respect. We got more than a little out of Jaren (Jackson Jr.). McQuaid would be a big, big, big key if we can get him going and keep Miles as aggressive as he looked to me tonight.”

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