College Hoops Open Thread


Wait!!! Do we get the earlier game because we are the highest seed remaining?

Is that how that works? Because I’m liking that!


Yup, for as open as the draw is for us moving forward this team needs to play a lot better, like they were @MSG.


I feel bad for my MSU alum friend, but this is some funny shiyat.


If MSU could have just gone through the tournament without running into any RPI top 50 team I am sure they could have easily become National Champions, and then their devoted fan base could have avoided the need of second guessing the-hall-of-fame- type wisdom of putting Jackson and Ward on the bench for most of the game.

The Syracuse game is just another peice of evidence that MSU was a flawed team with some very real areas of weakness.

I guess the bottom line for me is that Izzo had 2 years to prepare and develop Bridges to be capable of being a zone buster in the middle. He was not ready. Izzo had a full year to prepare JJ (a very likely candidate for the job) to be capable of being a zone buster in the middle. He was not ready. Why not Izzo?


MSU definitely didn’t put on a zone-busting clinic; but they’re a top 5 (did I read top 2 somewhere?) 3pt% shooting team, and good shooters missed a bunch of shots, some of them pretty good looks. I dont think that excuses JJJ’s lack of minutes/not experimenting with Bridges in the key. And I think it’s correct to say MSU had weaknesses (poor decision making, lack of true slasher, no athleticism in the backcourt) that can be exploited, but 3pt shooting definitely wasn’t one of them.

I watched the game with some Spartans and tried to maintain some perspective and: 1. They’re right to feel like losing that game was an anomaly because of 3pt luck and 2. I was smug as heck knowing JB would’ve made the right adjustments


Yeah, I think Izzo just planned to outshoot the zone from 3. What else could he do though? The team he built was not capable of placing a scoring threat and ball handler in the middle. He never developed his talent to deal with the situation presented by Syracuse. I am not sure JJ could have done better than Carter but that is on Izzo failing to develop JJ. Meanwhile we have a long list of players on our team that are capable of executing that role better than Carter.


I read today that JJJ was +6 in his 15 minutes and -8 in the 25 minutes he was off the court. I remember reading a similar stat about Deyonta Davis in the Middle Tennessee game years back. I am absolutely positive JJJ would have been a better option than Carter and Izzo is rightfully getting blasted for it, maybe not even as much as he should be IMO


Either way: What the hell is Izzo doing? I suspected he was trying to hold DD back last year. He can’t possibly think he can make JJJ believe he is not a top pick can he?


In 2013, Beilein was able to devise a plan to attack the Syracuse zone and it was successful. And that Final Four Syracuse team was a lot better than this year’s play-in team. Izzo supposedly had a higher regarded team to work with and, from my observation, didn’t have much of an attack plan at all and couldn’t make meaningful adjustments.

To imply that MSU lost because shots weren’t falling is shirking accountability. Part of the effectiveness of the zone is to take you out of your normal offense and frustrate you into poor or rushed shots. MSU didn’t shoot poorly due to dumb luck, it was the result of the Orange defense.


Michigan scored 1.02 PPP in that game and had a week to prepare… Syracuse’s zone is a really tough prep especially on a short turnaround.

They missed shots and I think it is really hard to attack the zone when you have short guards like Cassius and the Cuse are way bigger up top against them.

As far as JJJ… I don’t think he’s not playing these guys because he’s trying to hold them back, it is because they aren’t able to do exactly what he wants.


But I think that still falls on Izzo because he needs to adapt. The numbers above are telling. If they are better with Ward and/or JJJ on the floor, then they need to be on the damn floor.

This is where I am so thankful we have a coach like Beilein that is willing to adapt and change with his personnel and times. Izzo seems to be stuck in an outdated model of basketball. Even his recruiting class has more bigs than guards when clearly his roster and the evolving of basketball calls for more guard play.


I don’t disagree with that. You have to play the guy. Just disagreeing with the supposed reasons why.


Tend to agree. Everybody has their reasons; often their reasons are legit. . . from the confines of their own perspectives, analysis, choices. But Izzo failed big time in that game. Now the way that all of his wonderful and loyal fans, willing to let him get by for all kinds of extra-curricular ugly, are suddenly turning on him. . . those people lacked judgment before and they lack it now, too.


While I think they did miss more shots than they would on a normal night, you also have to account on the type of 3s you’re taking. MSU is used to taking threes off kick outs or off screens from the baseline. Hard to get either against the zone. Most threes they attempted were just from passing around the perimeter and the shooter is just rising above the zone. Some were open, but it’s not a shot you frequently take against man to man.

Either way, Syracuse is a team I never want to face in a single elimination tournament. Even their bad teams (and this year is a bad Syracuse team) are very good at a unique or singular thing, in their case a lengthy 2-3 zone. I wouldn’t want to face a JB team in single elimination either, even a bad one, because his teams are always good at dictating pace to whatever they want it to be.


Caveat for my time watching the game being only the part where they missed 15 straight, but it sure seemed like their looks were either super long or very contested. I agree that there probably isn’t as much bad luck involved with their shooting as a normal performance like that would generally have.


It is hard for me to have an opinion about how contested the shots were because I was watching on a tablet but the total lack of plays by MSU toward the rim was pretty pathetic. Although Dylan pointed out that we only scored 1.02 PPP it felt like, compared to MSU, we shredded Syracuse with a very balanced attack.


McGary was really effective in the middle of the zone against Cuse. He had 6 assists but our guards shot horribly in the game. Burke was 1-8, THJ was 4-16 and Stauskas was 0-5.

Beilein’s teams haven’t done well against their zone. He’s 2-9 against Boeheim. We did win the last 2 but I wouldn’t call them offensive masterpieces. I know we shot under 40% in both.

I do think Izzo’s plan was flawed though and didn’t make good use of Bridges skills.


Im just arguing for shared accountability.

Izzo: should’ve played JJJ more; should’ve tried Bridges in the middle of zone and/or should’ve prepared Bridges for that role; maybe should’ve played Ward more.

Players: make some shots; somebody (cough Bridges cough) put the team on your back and rip the zone apart; turn more of those Orebs into put-backs

Luck: the narratives, even if not the scrutiny, get put on hold if you shoot 24% from 3, instead of 21%. Planning on shooting over the best 2-3 zone in the country is a flawed plan, even with a >40% 3pt shooting team, but 9 out of 10 times, it’s enough to win this game because there was nothing flukey about Cuse’s offensive output. But single-elimination games are too small of a sample size and narratives flip with single shots.

My narrative: sub in JB for Izzo at halftime, and MSU wins the game by double digits.


McGary was great against Syracuse in that game, surprisingly, the other player to have success that game flashing to the foul line, was young freshman, Caris LeVert. In limited opportunity he made some really nice plays and reads. For me that game was another confirmation that Caris LeVert was going to be a dynamite player. LeVert finished with 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists, and I’m pretty sure both assists came off nice passes after flashing to the middle against the Syracuse zone. Spike and Caris each hit 2 threes off the bench that game. Nice debuts for a couple role players in their first FF game.


While the way MSU lost was surprising, it was not that shocking to me that a team that had been extremely fortunate in close games all year long finally saw its luck run out.