Michigan State Spartans Archive

2014-2015 ITH season preview: Michigan State Spartans

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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.

Michigan State started the 2013-2014 season as the favorite to win the national championship. Tom Izzo, no stranger to building Final Four teams, constructed a roster that had talented veterans (Adreian Payne, Keith Appling and Branden Dawson) to go along with a young superstar (Gary Harris).

And while the Spartans ultimately fell short of their goal, Izzo and his company still enjoyed plenty of success including a trip to the Elite Eight and the Big Ten conference tournament title.

This year’s version of the Spartans will certainly look different than the group we last saw in Madison Square Garden in March. Payne and Harris are now in the NBA after being taken in the first round of the draft in June. Appling will be in training camp with the Los Angeles Lakers. Three other players, Kenny Kaminski (dismissed), Alex Gauna (opted not to return) and Russell Byrd (transferred) are gone.

But as we’ve learned in the past, despite the uncertainty, it’s never smart to count Michigan State out of the Big Ten race.

The prized returnee for Izzo is Dawson, a former McDonald’s All-American who is entering his final season of eligibility. The 6-foot-6 senior is one of the Big Ten’s best rebounders and defenders, but needs to show off a more polished offensive game as three of the team’s four leading scorers are gone. Dawson is very efficient (61.5 percent on 2s), but will need to morph into a guy who is capable of hitting midrange shots with consistency.

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Film Session: Good take, bad take

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“The standard offensive set, to begin with, is a 1-in, 4-out flex, where the perimeter players provide ball screens and allow the ball handler to make a decision to drive, pass, or shoot. Indiana began out of that set a lot in the first half and it sent 5 MSU players to the locker room with 2 fouls. It is a read offense. It is not that complicated. Many teams run a similar offense.

Yogi can also call out plays at the top, or Crean can from the sideline, which can send those perimeter players to do off ball screens or other flex motions.” – Indiana_Banners

As detailed above by Indiana_Banners in the comments of The Minute After, the Hoosiers were able to find success in the halfcourt by hitting driving lines out of their offensive sets — leading to fouls and scores at the rim.

A look at some success and failure out of these sets, as well as some Noah Vonleh looks in the latest edition of Film Session:

The Hoosiers run some weave action as Yogi Ferrell hands off to Jeremy Hollowell and the two swap spots. Hollowell fills spaces up top as Ferrell hits the left wing. As this happens, Stanford Robinson starts to join the weave off the right wing:

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Spartans second-half run dooms Hoosiers in 71-66 loss

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On Tuesday night in East Lansing, with less than 11 minutes remaining against Michigan State, Indiana had a five-point lead against the No. 3 team in the nation. It was a far cry from only three days earlier, in which the Hoosiers were stunned at home by a then 8-10 Northwestern squad.

Instead, the Hoosiers were ahead of the No. 3 Spartans and were getting to the free throw line, attacking the basket and challenging the Spartans on defense. But like many great teams, the Spartans made a run. And the Hoosiers had no answer.

Propelled by a 21-6 run from the 10:37 to the 3:00 mark of the second half, Michigan State (18-1, 7-0) held off Indiana (12-7, 2-4) in a 71-66 win at the Breslin Center.

“I’m real proud of my team, to be honest with you, because I think we really did a great job the last couple of days of establishing even more togetherness,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “And it showed tonight. We did some really good things.”

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The Minute After: Michigan State

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Thoughts on a 71-66 loss to the Spartans:

This time, it was Indiana’s turn to put the heat on the better squad at home.

The Hoosiers frustrated Michigan State for much of this one. Without an injured Will Sheehey, they attacked the paint and drew fouls. Without an injured Adreian Payne, Noah Vonleh had his way on the interior when he got the ball in space, posting a double-double (13 points, 13 boards) for the second straight game.

Indiana’s mix of man-to-man to matchup zone also gave Michigan State trouble.  Tom Izzo seethed. Branden Dawson lacked energy. Keith Appling hobbled. Gary Harris was kept in check. Indiana entered halftime with a 28-27 advantage. Harris would start to heat up in the second half — as did Dawson — but Indiana didn’t let it knock them out. It led 46-41 with just over 10 minutes to play and Michigan State was out of sorts, the Breslin Center crowd frustrated.

But the Spartans broke through in a big way over the next stretch. After a Stanford Robinson score gave Indiana a 48-46 advantage with 10:10 to play, the Hoosiers didn’t register another field goal for seven minutes of game time until a Yogi Ferrell 3-pointer. (Ferrell hit four free throws for Indiana’s only points in-between, but he’s now just 16-of-51 over his last three Big Ten contests.) The five-point lead had been erased for a 10-point deficit with 3:00 left to play, and it was simply too much to overcome.

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What to Expect: Michigan State

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Indiana will play its third Big Ten game against a top five team tonight when the Hoosiers travel to No. 3 Michigan State. The Spartans are 17-1 overall and 6-0 in league play.

The game will be broadcast at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN and on the IU radio network:

It looked like Indiana might be turning a corner when it knocked off then-No. 3 Wisconsin on Tuesday night at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers had their second straight Big Ten win with a great chance at a three-game streak with Northwestern coming to town.

But sometimes looks can be deceiving.

The same Indiana team that was good enough to put 75 points on Wisconsin and beat the Badgers for the first time in its last 13 tries couldn’t beat one of the league’s bottom three teams at home.

The road gets no easier from here as Indiana goes to Michigan State, which is playing its best basketball of the season without Adreian Payne. It’s soul searching time for these young Hoosiers, who aren’t expected to win tonight but need to play much better than Saturday’s performance to keep things competitive and have a chance in East Lansing.

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After Northwestern loss, IU looks for improvement at Michigan State

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Following Indiana’s worst loss of the season on Saturday to an 8-10 Northwestern squad, Tom Crean gave his team a partial practice the next day to give his players some rest during a long Big Ten season.

That long season continues tonight in East Lansing, Mich., when the Hoosiers (12-6, 2-3) face No. 3 Michigan State (17-1, 6-0) at 7 p.m., only 17 days after the Spartans beat the Hoosiers, 73-56, on Jan. 4 at Assembly Hall.

“(They’re) really playing well on both sides of the ball, both ends and with very good consistency considering they’ve played without one of the better players in the country the last couple of games in Adreian Payne,” Crean said on Monday during the weekly Big Ten conference call. “We’re trying to continue to get better here at what we’ve got to improve upon and get ourselves prepared in a hurry to get up to Michigan State.”

As if tonight’s challenge won’t be significant enough, doing it on less preparation might make it even more difficult. The Spartans are riding a 10-game winning streak and haven’t lost since Dec. 4 against North Carolina. They have the nation’s No. 20 offense and No. 10 defense.

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Pick to Click: Michigan State

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Rules are here, for those unfamiliar.

Yogi Ferrell was the pick to click winner for Illinois, Michigan State, Penn State, Wisconsin. Noah Vonleh was the winner for Northwestern. Full standings are available here. (Note: Only those who have registered at least one correct pick are listed.

Pool for Michigan State: All players are eligible to be picked.

Picks are due by 6:45 PM ET on Tuesday.

A few reminders:

· State the name of the player (not a nickname) that you’re picking. If you use a nickname for a player, your pick will not be counted. Also, please state who you are picking as the first thing in your comment. We’re tracking hundreds of picks per game. It’s more difficult to keep track of everyone’s pick if it’s not the first thing in your comment.

· Please make sure you are using a valid e-mail address if you are not registered.

· Please make sure you are using the same name each time to pick if you are not registered. We are tracking wins by the name you use to submit your pick. If your name changes on a game-to-game basis, credit for your pick will be given to the name used to submit the pick.

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