BasketScrawls: Scouting Sparty

There’s been an odd rhythm to Michigan State’s season.

The Spartans opened 0-2, losing to Carolina on an aircraft carrier and to Duke on a neutral court. Adhering to the philosophy that made Denny Crum a Hall of Fame, and two-time national champ, Tom Izzo knew all was well and good. He didn’t panic.

Sparty proceeded to win 15 in a row.

Then jumped track again, losing two in a row in mid January at Northwestern and Michigan. A one-point defeat at Illinois a couple of weeks later was the team’s only one game losing streak.

The regular season whimpered to a close with another back to back skid, at Indiana and at home in a take no prisoners battle with Ohio State. Since then, no problems, including a payback W over the Buckeyes in the Big Ten tourney final.

* * * * *

What’s important to remember however is that the above is of little consequence now.

Know this: Tom Izzo wins this time of year. A lot.

His record in the Dance: 36-12. One national title. Six Final Fours. In 17 seasons.

Glossy.

* * * * *

Then there’s the guy who makes The Green so environmentally friendly you want to puke, if you are wearing another color on the court.

Draymond Green.

Of course, there’s the mythos of how he and his coach think as one, talk on the phone in the middle of the night, planning strategy.

Then there are the numbers. Stunning really for such a big solid guy. 16.1 ppg. On 46% shooting from the field and 72% from the free throw line. He plays underneath but has also nailed 39.5% of his treys.

He averages 10.4 rpg. That’s right, he averages a double double. And he’s second on the team with 3.6 assists/ game.

All of which is to say he’s a considerable force to be reckoned with. Gorgui Dieng is too lean to check him. Chane Behanan, just a frosh still learning, may be too green to check Green.

Plus DG has a considerable will to win.

* * * * *

As a team, Sparty hits 48% of its shots, better than 36% from beyond the arc.

They hit 70% of their free throws.

They have outrebound their opponents by 9/ game. Michigan State’s average winning margin, including all those games in the toughest league in the country, is +13.

They are deep enough that 8 guys play more than 15 minutes/ game.

* * * * *

There’s a reason why Michigan State is a #1 seed. I’m not sure the same can be said for the seeding of the Cardinals, whose campaign has only started reaping real benefits in the last couple of weeks.

Beating Michigan State is not an impossible task. But it shall take maximum, relatively error-less effort.

State is a 4 1/2 point favorite. Sounds about right.

– Seedy K

One Comment

  1. MattChew
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I agree with all you said. However – as you pointed out in a previous post – Izzo does not have Tom Crean helping out this year – which should even out the coaching match-up with Pitino.

    I’d have to say that Rick has amped up his coaching game in parallel with Siva (or Siva’s improved game allows Rick to better implement his plans), in either case, I think it’ll be a close game.

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