Monday, February 18, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Michigan State vs. Indiana (2/16/08)


The Good

Eric Gordon - He was on fire and you got the sense early that he could hit from anywhere on the floor.  From distance, off the dribble, catch and shoot (loved that underneath curl off the screen for three), pull-up jumpers, and taking it to the hoop with force... he was not to be denied.  As the HD box score shows, he was 2 points under half the scoring (28/60) while on the court.  In a way, D.J. White's knee injury allowed Gordon to be more selfish with scoring... a good thing on that night, as he was in the zone.

DeAndre Thomas - He was a huge catalyst, immediately posting up and dominating on the interior.  It's odd to see Michigan State dominated on the inside.  I've come to expect that Michigan State will always win that battle... in fact, I was uncomfortable most of the night because it was so off-putting.  Anyway, Thomas' third foul was called just because he was big.  It was unfortunate, because although he wouldn't pick up another foul, it took him out of the game to prevent further foul trouble and effectively silenced his night.

Playing Zone - I'm not a big fan of zone defenses, but I do think there are times where it is strategically important to play them.  Sampson, may be a liar and a cheater, but he does have good coaching chops.  His decision to go to the 2-3 zone paid off in spades.  It saved our interior from foul trouble and the Spartans struggled against it.  What do you think Dre Thomas' fouls per minute would have been if they'd stayed in man?

Drew Neitzel - I was thinking that he didn't play particularly well.  Then, I realized he'd had 21 points well into the second half (he wouldn't score again).  I've always thought good players score without you really being aware of it.  True, he only had 1 assist against 2 turnovers but it was apparent that Neitzel had little to no help this night.


The Bad

D.J. White's Knee - I feel culpable.  I stupidly put the jinx on and now D.J. goes down to injury.  I haven't seen the results of the MRI (or more so the articles about the results of the MRI), but early signs looked promising.  We need him against Purdue, but it looks he won't play in that game.

Dick Vitale - I have the rare gene that allows me to tolerate Dickie V.  His unabashed love for Duke is obnoxious, but I love it when a team catches fire and goes on a run and his emotions take over.  When a steal is followed by a big dunk, or a long three forces a timeout, his "OOooooooooohh  Ooooohhhhhhhhhhh... they're rolling... you better get a T.O., baby!" is hard to beat.  Sadly, those moments -- the really genuine ones, not the shtick -- are few and far between. 

I appreciate the strong stance on Sampson's infractions, and he agrees with me about Greenspan needing to go, but I can't stand when he talks about the Hoosiers because he always injects Bob Knight into the discussion.  Should the building be named after Bobby?  Probably, but this isn't the time, Dick.  While he's quick to praise RMK for his zero violations in 29 years, he does so in the context of discussing a coach who has made some regrettable decisions.  Yet, wasn't Knight fired for a series of regrettable decisions?  On the scale of fireable infractions, I think choking a player and getting tough with a student trump making impermissable phone calls and lying about it.  I'm a Knight supporter, but only the Dr. Jekyll side and not so much the Mr. Hyde.  Hoosier fans are still fractured following Knight's ouster, and I hate all things not productive to getting the program back pointing in the right direction.  There will be a time to honor Bobby for his contributions to Indiana basketball, but we aren't there yet.

Erin Andrews - Abs texted me:  "Erin Andrews is wearing green.  Boo!"  Security made a student remove his T-shirt calling for Knight's return at an earlier game... they should have required Erin to remove her offending green sweater.


The Ugly

Turnovers - Michigan State had a bunch of them.  They were sloppy with the ball and it allowed the Hoosiers to go from 11 down to double digit leads for the balance of the game.

Surrender? - I kept waiting for the Spartans to mount a push and claw their way back into the game.  Izzo was quite animated early, but with 15 minutes to play he was planted on the bench and seemed resigned to the loss.   There was no push, or at least they couldn't stop the Hoosiers long enough to make one.  Maybe he knew something that was lost on the audience -- he's an exceptionally good coach -- but it sure looked like an early concession.  This was the bizarro Spartans.

1 comment:

Don said...

A superb analysis!