Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sparty Got Us at Home - They're that good!

Give most of the credit to Sparty today after the 74-66 win inside Assembly Hall. Actually, the game was much closer throughout and was probably one of the most competitive affairs in conference this season. Both teams came to play and left it all out on the court at the final horn.

Michigan State was just too strong at both ends of the court, but especially on defense; which really surprised me some. I expected them to get some easy transition baskets since they like to run, but they really held our half-court offense in check most of the game. I'm not sure we had a bucket in the last eight minutes of the game. Most of our points came from the charity stripe where we went 16 for 19 this afternoon (not bad).

Davis and Tisdale both played well at times, but neither was able to assert his will down the stretch with 8 minutes to go. Michigan State recognized that stopping Tisdale was going to be key; it was; they did. Give credit to Izzo who always seems to get the most out of his players at this time of year. They are looking like a strong 2 seed in the Tourney and the odds-on fave to take the BIG-10 Tourney again.

But, we had our chances. Sure we gave up a few too many easy baskets, especially in transition. Turnovers didn't help us either (we had 17 to their 11, ouch!). Our deep shot disappeared today on just 4-14 at home. Hopefully we'll learn NOT to live and die on the 3-ball come tourney time from today's lesson. You have to be able to execute in the half-court without depleting the shot-clock and being forced to jack-up 3's all day. Of course, take what you're given and let the defense generate 'easy' fast-break opportunities.

Up next, the final regular-season game on the road in Happy Valley. That won't be easy. None are in conference this time of year. Still, at 23-7 (11-6 in conference) I like the direction the team is heading. We didn't lie down and rollover against Sparty today who's poised for another deep run to Detroit and the FINAL 4.

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