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Sparty's road woes continue in loss to Illinois

Posted on: January 19, 2011 9:20 am
Posted by Matt Norlander

I'm not going to beat to death or beat the drum re: Michigan State having a down season. We are aware of this and, really, until they flame out in the first round, that's all a lot of noise.

But what I'd like to point out is how unimpressive the Spartans have been away from home, and how it could be the thing that prevents Michigan State from making The Tournament.

That going to happen? Unlikely, but if it does, the issues away from East Lansing will be the primary catalyst.

Sparty dropped to 4-2 (did you think they'd have a worse in-conference record than that after the Illinois loss? Not knowing their record off the top of my head, I thought the L would bring Tom Izzo's team to .500 in the Big Ten) after falling 71-62 in Champaign last night. Overall, Izzo's group is now 12-6 with a 4-5 record outside of the Breslin Center. One of those four wins came against Division II Chaminade, a game that the Spartans came close to losing.

Last night's performance wasn't a terrible loss, but did it inspire any viewer to think twice about the Spartans? Illinois is a good team, one that's going to wind up with a 4-seed or better, most likely. And it is tough to win on the road in any major conference against a team that's on pace to end its season with a single digit in the loss column. That I know.

I also know I've seen Michigan State take advantage of other teams in these spots in the past. After having lost to Penn State and Wisconsin in back-to-back games, the Illini were as desperate for a win as Michigan State, only you saw that desperation in the Illini last night.

Winning in March is about neutral-court success. Road performance isn't always the strongest indicator, but it is a barometer reading of sorts. If you're a team that's noticably different once you put on the white unis and play outside your gym, then that's an issue that often needs immediate resolve but doesn't get it. Changing that mental makeup more than halfway through a regular season isn't simple. It's often impossible.

I think it could be one of the biggest issues facing MSU, a team that's seemingly on a collision course with an 8/9 game. Sparty is losing these road/neutral-site games by an average of nearly eight points. A lot of them aren't close, and there's a lot of inconsistency.

Factor in everything you want, from team turmoil in the offseason, to the inconsistent backcourt play, to Draymond Green not finding a proper niche, to lacking the dominant rebounding and interior scoring presence that we're accustomed to seeing from a Michigan State team. Factor all that in, and when it adds up to mediocre play on the road and a Sparty team that seems somewhat alien in its Big Ten play.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB

Since: Oct 21, 2006
Posted on: January 19, 2011 6:48 pm

Sparty's road woes continue in loss to Illinois

Im a Michigan State but I dont think high of Tom Izzo and what I have been saying for years is starting to show up more and more.  For years Izzo has gotten lucky in March leading to runs ending in the final four.  Not because the team was that good just that they got hot or lucky at the right time.

This will be the second time Michigan State has had a pre-season #2 team return most or all of its starters that didnt do a darn thing.  But what is it that makes this team stink?  The fact that Tom Izzo cannot recruit a guy that can shoot worth a crap.  7 for 25 from the 3 point line?  Why did this team keep taking 3 point shots?  And just look at the free throw shooting.  Sure last night they were good against Illinois, but on average they arent that good at all.  And the best shooters are generally great at free throws.  JJ Redick Reggie Miller bother pure shooters that shot well over 80% from the free throw line.  Michigan State doesnt have that.

But the biggest thing I see lacking from Michigan State is development of young talent.  Since some of MSUs top assistant coaches have gone on to other head coaching jobs the development has gone down hill.  For all these Mr Basketballs that are on this team they look like they were second string players on their high school teams just thrown to the wolves to go out and play.  On defense they rarely appear to know what they are doing and are often out of place to give up wide open 3 point field goals.  I would be shocked if this team didnt give up over 40+% from beyond the 3 point line. 

And then the last thing I see is that from time to time it doesnt even look like Izzo cares anymore.  When MSU won the national championship he had a lot of fire and passion.  He rarely sat down during games.  In the last 4 years I have seen games where he just sat there with his chin on the palm of his hand like he could care less whats going. 

If he has lost his passion I hope he steps down so Michigan State can find someone that will bring energy and passion back to MSU so this program doesnt slip back to middle of the pack.

Since: Jan 9, 2009
Posted on: January 19, 2011 6:29 pm

Sparty's road woes continue in loss to Illinois

Good points lawyer. Also 4 of Sparty's losses are to teams cureently ranked in the AP top 10, one loss is to top 25 ILLINOIS and one losss is th Penn State that also beat ILLINOIS and nearly continued their upset streak by beating The Ohio State University on the road. While I'm sure Sparty would like to have won a game or two more, there really aren't any BAD losses and the schedule MSU plays is absolutely brutal. This should help the team in March.

Since: Mar 28, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2011 3:44 pm

Sparty's road woes continue in loss to Illinois

Would appreciate it if you had someone sane read your ramblings before posting.

Since: Apr 3, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2011 3:01 pm

Sparty's road woes continue in loss to Illinois

Saying you didn't know the spartan's conference record but assumed it to be .500, plus thinking white unis were road unis, plus the disaster of a last sentence that atually makes no sense, and this article is quite amateurish.

Since: May 23, 2010
Posted on: January 19, 2011 1:31 pm

Sparty's road woes continue in loss to Illinois

Do most teams wear "white unis" on the road?

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