Wednesday, December 1, 2010
The Spartans Vs. The Blue Devils: Possibly Epic in Name Only
This was billed preseason as number 1 vs. number 2. An epic early season battle. A clash of the titans. Then Michigan State lost to UConn and now it's 1 vs. 6. Less sexy. It seems like every year the Spartans decide that the season actually starts sometime towards the end of January. Then, some good teams that got the memo about the actual start time make them look silly. For my money, tonight is destined to be one of those times.
If you would like some good analysis and serious breakdowns of tonight's action:
If you want my off the cuff rambling wander down a road that I feel remotely resembles something approaching analysis, by all means keep reading. The obvious and heavy hit bit in this match up are the 17 turnovers the Spartans are averaging a game. That black eye of a stat isn't a result of the competition. Against Tennessee Tech on Sunday, MSU coughed the ball up 17 times. When you're dealing with a team whose opponents are averaging 20 turnovers a game, you get how this could turn into a long night for fans of the Green and White.
Add early season chemistry issues to that concern for Michigan State. Derrick Nix, 6'8 sophomore center, could really cause some match up problems for Duke down low. After sitting out the Hawaii trip due to possible issues with his playing time, however, he may not be out of Izzo's doghouse. If Nix isn't contributing, it decreases the small chance MSU has of winning to an even smaller chance.
Meanwhile, the plan for MSU is to stick Korie Lucious on Kyrie Irving on defense. If you watched the UConn game and saw the systematic dismembering job Kemba Walker performed on Lucious, you wonder if tonight is going to be the dismembering part deux. Kyrie is younger than Walker, and isn't as pure of a scoring threat yet, but he has so much more talent around him it's scary. How do you account for Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith, Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry? It's a question that is going to be giving coaches in the ACC nightmares all season long.
So what does Michigan State have going for it? Draymond Green, Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers. The past three years they've been through a lot. No matter what Duke can boast, I still believe they will be the best 3 players on the court. Izzo hasn't figured out his rotation yet (surprise, surprise). The turnovers are glaring. Sadly, the Spartans aren't rebounding particularly well this year and that used to be something you could count on with this team. Still, if the 3 upperclassman perform like they're capable of, which means no disappearing act from Summers, State has a chance. A very small chance. They are 10 point dogs, after all. But a chance is a chance.