I had two ideas for columns following the disgusting display of sport that occurred at the Breslin Center Saturday afternoon but I couldn’t decide which one I liked better so this is going to be a two part shindig.
Michigan State must be willing to play inside
This team is built to shoot. I know this, you know this, anybody who has watched a college basketball game before knows this. But that’s not all this team can do.
Matt Costello, despite not being the most athletic specimen to ever grace the hardwood, is one of the craftiest post players out there. Gavin Schilling has taken great strides this year to become a more reliable or even serviceable big man. Yet the Spartans refuse to go to them when the shooting struggles.
When I play pickup basketball, I enjoy saying “shooters shoot to get hot” as I miss a million three pointers in a row. As I watch this team, I wonder if they have this same mentality. The difference between me and MSU is that I don’t have a capable 6’9” big man to throw to at IM West.
Now I will say this, Michigan State is unlikely to shoot 19 percent from three again this season. It’s almost difficult to fathom that a college basketball team had a shooting percentage below the Mendoza line so maybe they just didn’t know how to handle it. But, to use a tired metaphor, how many times can you run into a brick wall before you look for a door?
Tom Izzo said after the game, “You live by the three, you die by the three.” I can appreciate that but they didn’t even grab onto the lifeline that was the post game.
“Oh come on. They didn’t have Branden Dawson!” That is correct but if MSU’s entire post game relies upon one player, I’m going to have to start looking at how the NIT field is shaping up this year.
Can MSU please stop talking about fans?
I wanted to throw up during the football season listening to coaches and columnists complain that the fans and student section let the team down.
I almost passed out when somebody asked if the subdued crowd today contributed to MSU’s demise.
Michigan State was favored by almost a quarter century, at home, playing a team that was 1-8 and lost its last three games against MSU-level competition by a combined 91 points. MSU fans could have been rooting for Texas Southern and the Spartans still should have been able to beat this team by 15 or more.
Fan enthusiasm should contribute to a team’s success about as much as the temperature of the Gatorade. Actually, Gatorade temp is substantially more important. If I had to drink that stuff warm it would definitely throw me off my game.
A Division One college athlete should want to win at all costs, regardless of who in the building happens to be cheering them on. Is this idealistic? Yes. Is it completely out of the question? I hope not.
So enough. Stop trying to blame people who are off the field for what happens on the field. Let the coaches and players take responsibility for the things that they have direct control of.
One more thing
Michigan State is going to be fine. As I said, 19 percent is mythologically bad. Izzo will get this team right and they will become more well-rounded. This is one game during a tough stretch of the season that will hopefully remind this young team that it cannot take any opponent for granted regardless of record or talent.
Andrew Hayes is the host of Impact Izzone and a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports