Three up or down: the three Parts of the #4 Michigan State basketball that are trending up or down now.
- UP Paying attention to details The Spartans Hall of Fame head coach Tom Izzo had a detailed and regimented game plan for Saturday. The team stayed disciplined and followed it. Izzo said of sticking with the plan, “Well, we stuck with our guns, but if you notice in the last five minutes when he put it on the floor, and that one time he fumbled it. So, you’re right, we were just so paranoid with the 3s. It gets them going. I swear he was in there for an hour and a half a couple of times, but it is what it is. I’d say 99 percent we stuck to the game plan, which made (Nick) Ward and (Gavin) Schilling look bad at times, but give our guys credit, you know? Give our fans credit. I know a couple of times I heard some moans, like what are you doing, you knucklehead? And I looked at my staff and said, “What are we doing?” But, we just stuck with it and I give them credit.” Purdue Coach Matt Painter said of the Spartan plan, “You know, they made a decision not to double Isaac (Haas) and so a lot of people won’t continue to go to the well. I wish we would’ve made some 3s in the second half. I thought in the first half we had a good balance of making some 3s and going inside to them so we wanted to keep going into them, and since they were staying one-on-one, just keep it simple. We were able to do that for the most part.
Ten misses in a game is a lot for him. I know he has 12 field goals, but him, that’s a lot of misses. We just have to keep working. You know, they made a decision, so we had to roll with it and that’s something that we really harp on with our team is that they make the decision what to give us. We’ve got take what they give us. I think that’s an important thing for our team to have balance, just take what the other team gives us and play hard.”
- UP Big Ten Title Race The Spartans are in the hunt. Izzo said, “Well, as you know, we have some big games left and all of ours are on the road. But, at least we give ourselves a chance and you guys that have been around me a lot, I’ve always said that you want to be in a position in the last two weeks. You want to be in a position to mathematically be able to win a championship. There’s been some bad years, I mean average years where we’ve been in a position, one year we were 11-6 in the league and we had a chance mathematically, so that gives us a chance. There’s so much left. I guess we still need some help. Hell, we needed some help in 2001, got it. We needed some help in ’99 and got it. When you play in a conference like this, you don’t do it on your own, how you’d like to have everything in your control but that’s not the way it is. This gives us another chance, a time to hopefully build a little bit. That was an NCAA deep tournament game and what I like for us is that it proved we can play different ways again.”
- UP The Spartans MSU (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) Enough said. With the loss of #1, #2, and #3 the Spartans should move to #1 on Monday. I think they will have a difficult time (If they don’t help their opponents) losing another game in the regular season. Izzo loves this team. He said, “The best teams we’ve had here we could play fast, we could play slow, we could smashmouth, we could finesse, we could do it on the rebounding and we could do it on the shooting. This game, we’ve been a fast break team and we’ve got a few of those, but I think what won us the game was our depth, 47 points off the bench, following the game plan and our star took over the game. That’s kind of what you need in a tournament setting, but at the same time that is the best team, I think, we’ve played against.”Izzo added of the team, “I loved the way those seniors react. I love what they do, I just, every one of them does something good. I think that is definitely, in my humble opinion, a team that has a chance to make a deep, deep run and be a Final Four team. I think the other cool thing for me is I, we, the first guy I called when we were doing the Jud (Heathcote) reunion or the Jud, honoring Jud, was Gene Keady, and then my guys picked Purdue as the game to do it, my guys, just because of our schedule, it was our only Saturday game and it had to be the right time. So Gene came in a couple of days ago and I spent some time with Gene, but the thing that, how neat is it that Jud had me hired a year before, Gene hired him a year before, and we’re both competing at a very, very high level and I think that’s a great credit to both of our mentors, more so than us.”
EXTRA POINT: With Nick Ward and Jaren Jackson (3J) struggling it was Gavin Schilling and Kenny Goins that were keys in the Spartan win.
Kenny Goins played 30 minutes and scored six points and had three rebound and three assists. That is great, but his defense was outstanding. Purdue coach Matt Painter said of his play, “He double-bounced one in at Iowa at the end and helped them win the game. We knew he could shoot. He hit two 3s against Maryland, 3-for-10 in conference play going in, so we’re familiar with what he can do. If you have that five out on the court, that’s the guy you want shooting it. Once again, give him credit. He stepped up and that was a big basket.”
Give Gavin Schilling praise as well. He played 20 minutes and he had seven points and seven rebounds and was a defensive star on Isaac Haas. Painter praised the Spartan saying, “Give (Gavin) Schilling, I thought Schilling worked hard. In the last shot he missed, just had him out a couple feet extra with it. That’s when we’ve got to try to get him a little bit deeper than that. I liked the shots that he was taking. One time he went to a turn-around and Schilling got a piece of it. I wanted him to be as aggressive as he could be, but he can go either way. I thought his hook was pretty good with his left-hand tonight, too.”
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