Revival for Sparty? We Say Nope.

Michigan State opened the season as the number two team in the country in most polls out there.  Then there was the Florida loss.  Followed by a brutal drubbing against the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill (despite the final score).  Losing to Texas?  Nothing to be ashamed of.  However, since the Texas game, Sparty has ripped off nine straight wins.  A quality one against Wisconsin, too.  But for a team that returned stars like Lucas, Green, Morgan and Summers, they are dreadfully underperforming.

In ways that a veteran team coached by Tom Izzo shouldn’t.

216 and 230.  That’s where the Spartans rank in turnover efficiency on both offense and defense respectively.  They aren’t forcing turnovers like a normal Tom Izzo team and they sure as hell aren’t taking care of the ball.  Michigan State turns the ball over almost 15 times per game.  In a conference that is constantly ripped for boring (read: defensively strong) basketball, that will not get it done when they have to go to places like the Kohl Center, the Barn, or West Lafayette.

We’re quite surprised with the lack of discipline from Sparty.  You can say they’re winning ugly and yes, the wins are all that matter.  Stats like this are damning come tournament time for a team that was a final four and national title hopeful to start the season.

When you turn the ball over and get behind by double digits, it doesn’t help that you’re almost last in 3 point percentage of points scored and 3 point field goal percentage.  Sparty has some serious work to do before the tournament starts.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Revival for Sparty? We Say Nope.

  1. I have to provide some intra-blog dissent and say I still like the Spartans. I don’t love them like I did at the start of the year, but like them.

    Their 2 point defense is kind of alarming, but they made the national title game with not even a top 100 2 point defense last year, so what the hell do I know

  2. akaBruno

    The real question is when hasn’t MSU turned over the ball around 20% of the time? According to kenpom.com:
    In 2004, 21.7% (185th)
    In 2005, 19.9% (91) – Final Four
    In 2006, 20.5%(129)
    In 2007, 24.2% (301)
    In 2008, 20.6% (157)
    In 2009, 20.7% (196) – Final Four
    A six year average of 21.3%
    In 2010, 21.5% (216)

    Similarly, for defense
    In 2004, 21.4% (160th)
    In 2005, 22.1% (108) – Final Four
    In 2006, 18.8% (296)
    In 2007, 20.1% (221)
    In 2008, 18.3% (301)
    In 2009, 19.9% (190) – Final Four
    This creates a 6 year average of 20.1%
    In 2010, 19.5% (230)

    Are these 2010 numbers really significantly different than what has gone on historically for Tom Izzo teams?

  3. I think the only OOC game you can gauge them on was the Texas game. North Carolina shot the ball out of their minds that night, and Florida was an early hiccup. Luckily, MSU will probably avoid having to play Texas, unless they reach the Final Four which will be in Big Ten country.

    This is pretty much a typical Izzo team and Michigan State season. The only difference is that they are winning these ugly games in conference instead of losing them like they have done in past years…Look at losses to Northwestern and Penn State at home a year ago for examples.

    Still a ton of basketball left, and no team is as well prepared in March as Michigan State.

  4. witless chum

    I think this is actually wrong twice. You were wrong to love the Spartans so much at the beginning of the year. As an MSU fan, I suspected we were overranked to start the year, because I knew the importance of Travis Walton and Goran Suton to last years team and that we didn’t have clear replacements for the things they brought. If this year’s team was going to be as good as last year’s they were going to have to do it in a different way, hence the uncertainty.

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