Michigan State Spartans Archive
The Michigan State Spartans are the unanimous pick to the win the 2013-2014 Big Ten men’s basketball championship, the conference announced earlier this morning at its media day.
Here’s the full release:
Rosemont, Ill. – Michigan State has been chosen as the unanimous Big Ten favorite heading into the 2013-14 men’s basketball season as voted on by a panel of conference media. The media also tabbed Spartan sophomore Gary Harris as the Preseason Player of the Year. Michigan and Ohio State were selected to finish second and third, respectively.
Harris led a six-member preseason All-Big Ten team, as the media vote resulted in additional honorees due to a tie. He was joined on the team by the Wolverines’ Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III, Michigan State’s Adreian Payne, the Buckeyes’ Aaron Craft and Penn State’s Tim Frazier.
With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our look at the Big Ten with the Michigan State Spartans.
When Michigan State coach Tom Izzo says his future team reminds him of his 2000 National Champion squad, watch out. He said just that in July to MSU’s student newspaper, The State News.
In fact, heading into the 2013-2014 season, Izzo might have his best squad in East Lansing since that legendary team more than 13 years ago.
There’s Gary Harris, Keith Appling and Adreian Payne, who return to comprise the Spartans’ core. All three were recognized as all-Big Ten last season. Harris and Payne gave up potential first round NBA draft selections to make a run at a national championship in 2014.
Appling, a 6-foot-1 senior guard, was the Spartans’ leading point-scorer and assist-leader last season and has been a pivotal part of the MSU offense in his past three years in East Lansing. He’s worked to become more of a floor general this offseason. Harris, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, is the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year after he averaged 12.9 points per game and shot 41.1 percent from 3-point range. Payne, a 6-foot-10 senior, led the team in rebounds (7.6 per game) and overall shooting percentage (54.6), while averaging 10.5 points per game as well. In addition to Appling’s experience at point guard and Harris’ skill at the wing, Payne gives the Spartans a dominating post presence that few teams can even match.
Indiana found itself down four points with under two minutes to play, but escaped East Lansing with its first victory since 1991 because it out-executed the Spartans down the stretch.
A detailed look at how it went down in the latest edition of Film Session:
I. WATFORD’S AND-1
Jordan Hulls comes up to the top of the key and receives a pass from Yogi Ferrell after he brought the ball down the court. We see Christian Watford moving over to the left wing:
But it’s Watford that slides all the way down into to corner as he and Victor Oladipo cross. Oladipo receives the ball from Hulls:
Victor makes a nice behind the back move on Denzel Valentine and actually drops him to the floor. But Victor is looking at Watford as it happens, perhaps because this play was set for him all along:
Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall staff. (Photo credit: Joe Eke/IU Athletics)
· Robert Mays of Grantland writes that he can’t remember watching a player whose “activity is so consistently useful” as that of Victor Oladipo.
· Eamonn Brennan of ESPN.com writes that balance and depth and experience and leadership were all on full display for IU on Tuesday night.
· The Big Ten Geeks proclaim: “Say hello to your Big Ten champs.”
· The Hoosiers once again reign supreme in Luke Winn’s power rankings over at SI.com and in Mark Titus’s over at Grantland.
· Mitch Albom of The Detroit Free-Press writes that Michigan State had no answer for Victor Oladipo.
· Could Oladipo rise all the way to No. 1 in June’s NBA Draft? It’s not out of the question according to ESPN.com’s Chad Ford.
· Rick Bozich of WDRB.com borrowed a lyric from The Beatles to describe Oladipo’s presence on Tuesday.
· Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News believes that Oladipo’s “can-do attitude” enhances his enormous talent.
· The Big Ten Network debates the race for Big Ten player of the year.
· Dick “Hoops” Weiss believes the Hoosiers are a team possibly on the verge of a national championship.
· Police in East Lansing are investigating fires set after Michigan State’s loss to IU.
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Indiana moved to 6-1 in Big Ten road games with Tuesday night’s 72-68 win over Michigan State at the Breslin Center, the first win for the program in East Lansing since 1991. The Hoosiers have won four straight overall and now sit a game ahead of the Spartans in the Big Ten standings.
Here’s a look at five takeaways from IU’s second win over Michigan State this season:
· Control was established early: Indiana didn’t lead from wire-to-wire, but the fact that the Hoosiers built a lead early and sustained it throughout the first half was pivotal. Playing from behind on the road is never easy and in the atmosphere the Breslin Center provided, digging a hole could have spelled doom for IU. But the Hoosiers took their strong road performance in Columbus and built on it further in East Lansing. That was evident in the closing minutes when Michigan State mounted its final run. The Spartans opened up a four-point cushion with 1:37 remaining, but the Hoosiers answered immediately with veteran plays from Christian Watford and Victor Oladipo to close out the win.
· 85 percent of Oladipo is more than enough: Questions about Oladipo’s health dominated headlines going into the game after he sprained his left ankle in IU’s win over Purdue, but nothing was going to keep the IU junior out of this game. After finishing with a line of 19 points, nine rebounds, five steals and a block, Oladipo admitted that he was only 85 percent healthy. But as we’ve witnessed all season, Oladipo makes key plays down the stretch and Tuesday was no different. He scored six points in the game’s final 43 seconds and his heady tip-in of a Yogi Ferrell missed layup gave Indiana the lead for good at 68-67. “The play that was the killer was the tip-in,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “What happened is he’s got incredible heart and he just did what he does. I can give you our scouting report right now — cut him out, cut him out, cut him out — and he went and got it.”
· Indiana’s offense was once again balanced: Besides the 19 points from Oladipo, the Hoosiers also had three other scorers in double figures. Cody Zeller, who played arguably his worst game last season at Michigan State, scored 17 points on Tuesday in a variety of ways. Zeller faced up and knocked down mid-range shots, scored at the basket and was seemingly unaffected by the physical play of Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne. Christian Watford didn’t have his best night offensively, but three of his 12 points came when IU was faced with its largest deficit with under two minutes to play. Watford took the ball from the left wing, drove into the lane into contact from Payne and finished a tough runner for a 3-point play. And Jordan Hulls, who also had 12 points, hit a crucial 3-pointer midway through the second half that pushed IU’s cushion to five.
Thoughts on a 72-68 win against the Spartans:
Somewhere between the non-calls, the joke calls, the clock not running on two separate occasions and all the official reviews — which set a strange tone, especially in the second half — Indiana found a way to steel itself inside the Breslin Center when it seemed to be slipping away and emerge victorious in East Lansing for the first time in a long 22 years, a long 17 games.
Indiana maintained control in the belly of this game. Save for a one-point lead the Spartans held for less than a minute around the 13:00 mark of the second half, Indiana led from the 14:42 mark of the first half until the 6:30 mark of the second half — about 28.5 minutes of advantage. But the lead never reached double digits, never stretched over eight points, and as the clock pushed into winning time, the Spartans and Hoosiers would trade leads. It would continue to bounce back and forth until Derrick Nix, who had run his mouth about his team not getting enough respect, about some of these Hoosiers not being as great as they have been billed to be, hit a layup with just over three minutes to go and then another at 2:37 to put the Spartans up three. A Gary Harris split at the line made for a 67-63 Spartan advantage with only 1:37 left, and the Hoosiers would have to dig deep, get stops and put the ball in the basket if they were to make it out of the Izzone’s wrath with the W.
That they did.
Christian Watford, the so-called x-factor, who struggled at times in this one (an airballed 3-pointer, missing the front two of three at the line, that shiver to the face of Adreian Payne, whether intentional or not, that resulted in two fouls on him), hit a shot as he came across the lane and drew contact from Payne, resulting in a foul call. It was not the most glamorous shot. Not the most pretty. But it went in. And for a team that has ended up on the wrong side of big baskets in the final moments of games this season, it was time for the scales to tip and for them to get one of their own. This time, he would hit his free throw.
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 72-68 win over Michigan State on Tuesday at the Breslin Center.
Watch and listen to his postgame comments in the embedded media player below:
Quotes after the jump.