Michigan by 8.
...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
Previously: MSU From 1000 Feet
|WHAT||Michigan at Michigan State|
|WHERE||Breslin Center, East Lansing, Michigan|
|WHEN||7 pm Eastern, Saturday|
|LINE||MSU -5 (KenPom)|
|TV||ESPN/WatchESPN (PBP: Dan Shulman; Analyst: Dick Vitale)|
Right: Zack Novak, delightfully unhinged.
As has been covered here extensively, Michigan State is definitely without the services of power forward, rebounding terror, and excellent defender Branden Dawson (broken hand), and it's looking highly unlikely that center, athletic marvel, and inside/outside scoring threat Adreian Payne (plantar fasciitis) will be able to play at all—even if Payne gives it a go, his nagging foot injury should sap a lot of his effectiveness.
[UPDATE: Payne is officially ruled out, per ESPN's Jeff Goodman.]
Starting in their place will be 6'9" sophomore Matt Costello and 6'8" redshirt freshman Kenny Kaminski. Costello hits the offensive glass at a rate just above Payne; otherwise, this is a huge rebounding downgrade for MSU, as Kaminski is an okay offensive rebounder and almost-nonexistent defensive rebounder while Costello's DREB% is a full eight points lower than Payne's. Non-rebounding defense also takes a hit even with Costello's excellent shot-blocking. Kaminski isn't in the same league on that end as Dawson—look for Glenn Robinson III to attack early and test if Kaminski can stay in front of him.
State's offense also looks very different sans Payne and Dawson. Costello finishes at the rim at the exact same rate as Payne (69%) but far more of his looks inside are assisted; while Payne provides excellent outside shooting, Costello is 0/7 this season on shots outside the paint. Dawson takes over 75% of his shots at the rim, many on putbacks or in transition; Kaminski is a pure spot-up shooter, shooting 17/31 from three this season while attempting just eight twos. Brian covered the other options up front in his 1000-foot view:
[Gavin] Schilling, Costello, and [Alex] Gauna are all the same guy. This guy is 6'9", has usage in the Matt Vogrich range, fouls a lot, and gets rebounds. The most notable statistical outliers are a bunch of blocks from Costello and the fact that Schilling is on pace to foul out in 18 minutes, should he get that much PT.
6'7 shooting-specialist-who-can't-really-shoot Russell Byrd could also see a few minutes, though his impact should be minimal; he's played nine minutes in Big Ten play and put up a five trillion in his last outing.
Expect 6'5" wing Denzel Valentine to also get some run at the four, especially since he's a very good defensive rebounder for his size. Valentine is the guy most likely to give Tom Izzo an aneurysm of the non-leadership variety; he makes a lot of Sportscenter-caliber plays—especially with slick passes—and offsets a lot of those with hilariously dumb turnovers. He's not a very good finisher around the basket and isn't a quality shooter, either—his shooting splits are 44%/30%/71% with a low free throw rate. He does his best work as both a passer and finisher in transition; in halfcourt sets he's much less effective.
If you're getting the impression I've buried the lede, you would be correct. Michigan State's two best healthy players are senior point guard Keith Appling and sophomore wing Gary Harris. Healthy is a relative term here—Appling is playing through a wrist injury that appears to be affecting his shooting and ballhandling. Despite this, he's playing the best basketball of his career, shooting far better than ever before (49%/42%/72% with a high FT rate) and keeping his assist rate up while cutting down on turnovers.
Harris, meanwhile, has become a more efficient scorer while taking on a bigger role despite a big dropoff in his three-point shot (33% compared to 41% last season, though he's back up to a 41% clip in Big Ten play, best in the conference). He's done this by more frequently getting to the line, where he shoots 84%, and hitting 54% of his two-pointers—as UMHoops points out, he's getting a lot of points off of screens:
Harris has improved his efficiency when catching the ball off screens by 31% and he’s even using a few more screens. He’s also using significantly more ball screens this season. Just 11% of his offensive possessions were ball screens (including passes) last season, despite the fact that he was fairly efficient. He’s doubled that usage this season while making a modest improvement in his efficiency. Harris is the Spartans most efficient ball screen player by a wide margin.
Luke Winn highlighted this in his latest power rankings; Michigan State runs Harris off a variety of screens, much like how Michigan frees up Nik Stauskas:
Harris went off in his last two games, scoring 23 points (5/5 2-pt, 2/4 3-pt, 7/10 FT) against Illinois and 24 (4/7, 4/6, 4/4) against his home state squad Indiana. He's averaging 18.3 points and hasn't scored fewer than 13 in Big Ten play. Harris is also the team's best perimeter defender—it's a safe bet he'll be the one guarding Stauskas.
The Spartans feature just two perimeter bench players who see remotely significant time. 6'0" junior Travis Trice is a three-point specialist shooting 42% from beyond the arc, one percentage point better than his two-point rate on 11 more attempts; expect Spike Albrecht to see most of his time when Trice is on the floor. 6'4" freshman Alvin Ellis has attempted just 24 shots in 135 minutes this season while committing 11 turnovers; he could be pressed into more extensive action due to the need for Valentine to play more up front.
Michigan State is 18-1 (7-0 B1G) with their only blemish a surprising 14-point home defeat at the hands of #46 North Carolina, a loss that's looked worse and worse as the season has progressed, especially since the Spartans had their full complement of players in that one. The Spartans do boast an solid list of quality wins: #16 Kentucky and #43 Oklahoma on neutral sites, a blowout at #45 Texas, and an overtime triumph at Breslin over #18 Ohio State (though that win has lost a lot of its luster).
They've also allowed some less-than-stellar teams to hang with them at Breslin: #99 Columbia led them at halftime, #104 Portland was just four points back at the break, and the Spartans needed a late second-half run to dispatch Indiana in their most recent game.
Now that we're partway into conference play, I'll start posting four factors charts for all the games and Big Ten games only, with sample size issues obviously coming into play on the latter for a while.
Four factors, all games (national ranks in parentheses):
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||54.2 (30)||16.4 (61)||32.8 (141)||35.3 (283)|
|Defense||43.7 (16)||20.0 (86)||27.5 (30)||34.1 (56)|
Conference-only (seven games, Big Ten ranks in parentheses):
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||51.8 (4)||17.5 (8)||32.3 (6)||37.4 (7)|
|Defense||44.6 (2)||21.1 (2)||26.8 (3)||37.5 (7)|
As you can see, this wasn't a vintage Izzo offensive rebounding team even before their best player in that regard (Dawson) removed himself from the equation. MSU has been subpar at generating points inside the arc—they're sixth in the B1G in 2-pt shooting, ninth in percentage of points via two-pointers, and ninth in percentage of points on free throws—but have made up for a lot of that with stellar three-point shooting (39.1%, tops in the conference).
The defense ranks first in efficiency in conference play thanks to excellent two-point defense bolstered by a ridiculous 20.3% block rate (1st in B1G) and the conference's highest steal rate. Like Iowa, they've been fortunate in three-point defense—the Spartans are 290th nationally in 3PA/FGA yet 60th in 3-pt% against. Their interior defense should suffer from the lack of Dawson and Payne, which could also open things up outside.
Run them off the line. The Spartans have become heavily three-point reliant, ranking first in the Big Ten in percentage of points generated beyond the arc, and they'll be even more perimeter-oriented with Kaminski replacing much of Dawson's minutes at the four. Aside from Harris, and to a lesser extent Costello, none of their healthy regulars are very good finishers at the rim. Michigan can afford to close out hard and force MSU to try and keep up with two-pointers, especially now that they're missing a good deal of their offensive rebounding.
Work the high screens. This is going to happen no matter what with Michigan—hey, Nik Stauskas is really good at these!—and it could be emphasized even more in this game as they try to lure Costello, an excellent shot-blocker, away from the rim and hopefully even get him into foul trouble. If Costello has to sit for any length of time, MSU lacks a rim protector and either must go with a very foul-prone replacement, whether that be Gauna or Schilling, or play significantly undersized with Valentine at the four.
Take care of the ball. Michigan State gets out in transition even more than Iowa—35.2% of their shots come in the first ten seconds of the shot clock, per hoop-math—and while they aren't as efficient on the break as the Hawkeyes they're still dangerous. Harris has a top-75 steal rate, Trice sits just outside the top 100, and Valentine can be a ball-hawk, too; Caris LeVert, especially, is going to have to play more carefully or Michigan will cede some very easy buckets.
Michigan State by 5
WHAT'S THAT YOU SAY ABOUT KENPOM NOT ACCOUNTING FOR DAWSON AND PAYNE BEING OUT I CAN'T HEAR YOU LALALALALALALALALALA
I mentioned it a bit above, but [the front line] will be a weakness Michigan will want to exploit. That doesn't mean straight posting up, but ifor a point guard can penetrate, it will open a lot of options. Stauskas looks so good in this role, either going to the hoop, pulling up or dishing to a big man. This will be the biggest key to MSU's defense. In the last two years, MSU has defended U-M's ball screens well, but, if Payne is gone, it leaves big men who don't have much experience with it. MSU's defense struggled with the penetration against Indiana.
Michigan by 8.
We will know things are going our way!
Michigan can pull it off if this is Glenn Robinson's day against a weak interior d and we minimize the damagez on our defensive glass.
NEVER DOUBT KENPOM KENPOM WISDOM IS ALWAYS CORRECT
He thought Wisconsin would beat us.
Just shut up with that nonsense.
Isn't it obvious? The team that doubts KenPom more, changes the actual score away from their favor.
More Sparties saying "ONLY 5?!" than Wolverines claiming victory, only further ensure a Michigan win.
More Wolverines claiming victory than Sparties saying "ONLY 5?!" and we lose by 28.3pts
Equal clammoring from both sides ends in KenPom prediction score.
Thus KenPom is never wrong until you question KenPom. Never question KenPom.
MUST HAVE DOUBLE DOUBLE!
MY GOD, MAN: IF WE PLAY THE BOTH AT THE SAME TIME, IT'S LIKE HAVING 2 HORGANS
I MEAN MORFORDS
Horgan Morford. I like that guy.
I don't know what Novak is doing now but I'm sure it involves floor burn. M pulls away late and we get a bunch of good student section pictures to caption as we please. Go Blue!
I prefer McMorgan and McHorford in lieu of the fact that announcers always in the same breath of mentioning one of them also mentions McGary.
bring their A-game,too.
you mean their McA-Game right?
I tried a McA-Game once, too much mayo.
Depends on the officiating. If we get a fair shake we should win. If we get the type of home-cooking Breslin is famous for we will be in trouble.
I can so see the refs hanging two quick fouls on Nik to start the game. One will be a questionable charging call and then next will be an off the ball moving screen or some such nonsense. There is nothing scared refs like more than putting the opponents best player on the bench early to give the home team an insane advantadge.
mGrowOld you are quickly becoming the MOST pessimistic guy on the board. You also thought we had NO CHANCE when the refs would let Wisconson hand check us into oblivion. Payne and Dawson are out...there will not be a Stauskas conspiracy. State is good that is why they win at Breslin.
Please just smile and enjoy life. You probably complain about your beautiful wife's incredible libido.
mGrowOld: "Seriously babe I just let you do that to me this morning coming out of the shower...well ok if you must."
I am really pessimistic I just don't post as much as MGrowold does.
this is the Big Ten, and the home team will get the calls... just like we do at home... no matter how little you want to admit it...
I think we can win tomorrow but I do not think we will. This isn't pessimism, this is just an understand that Gary Harris is probably the best player on the court tomorrow, and State has a very good team.
I would say the the odds are 60-40 or 1.5 to 1.0 that state wins... Now, if we do win, which we can, then the sky is the limit...
I would have given anything for Novak to be in that title game
As much as I try to despise Dan Dakich, I have to appreciate his comments having a hand (just let me finish then I'll see myself out) in Dawson's injury.
and Malik McDowell commits to Michigan. He is visiting East Lansing this weekend, and is reported to attend the game tomorrow, per Rico Beard.
Does this mean, "We were in A-Town last year, and you weren't. So..na-na na-na boo boo, stick your head & FUCK YOU!
Nnanna Nnanna Egwu
It's a bit weird how coaches don't need to say in advance who's paying or not - makes it a bit more difficult to prepare. I guess there's nothing to prevent them from saying that they're playing and then just not play them.
Michigan wins 71-67. People feel happy. Children feel secure.
hasn't really beaten anyone but gets the benefit of the doubt annually conferred upon its coach, Marty Feldman.
IDK State beat Kentucky, Minn, and ohio......that's where I'm lost. Why is ohio getting so much respect they beat Marquette, that's it as far as teams you'll see in the tourney. Then they lost 3 straight and were still a top 15 team, 4 straight and they're still a top 20? We have decent non-con wins and our loses were to #1AZ #10Dook #16Iowa St and a let down lose to Charlotte in PuertoRico.
For all the talent that Kentucky has, they really aren't that great of a team. Thats why I never understand the love for Cheater Cal. That team should win the championship every year.
The thing with Kentucky is it's rarely a team anymore. It's a ton of talent thrown together for 1 or 2 years then they rotate in the next group. They had that great year w/ a mature group of frosh that won a title. I think that will be the exception not the rule moving forward.
Horford (and Morgan) are old
Not surprised Michigan State is favored since it's at the Breslin Center and we all know how Tiny Tom bribes and begs the officials.
My two concerns going into this game was our ability to rebound and our ability to get into the paint for the kick out pass. With Dawson and Payne out we shouldn't have a problem now. Michigan wins by 8. Tiny Tom's head explodes.
This game will feature angry Izzo who tries to intimidate the refs
Does anyone know where I can find highlights from the last time we won in East Lansing? I think 2011?
I have been looking for highlights from that game all over the place and just cant find any
1. What is Izzo's move against Stauskas? He has plenty of film, and has to do something to stop him or at least make him much less efficient.
2. Does Stausaks have a third move, after they stop his dribble-drive, and after they sag on the big to whom he'd like to dish it. Open guys on the wings, perhaps?
3. How do Irvin/Walton respond? We got bum-rushed last year, early and often. The grizzled veterans (sophomores) on this team look up to the task, but we will need freshman depth.
4. How bad are the zebras? I think we've been treated pretty darned well at Minn and Wiscy; will they let Sparty go all goon on Nik?
Blue by 4, holding off another late charge by the home team.
If we played Duke again tomorrow, and Duke came out with their same gameplan against Stauskas, do you think Stauskas would get shut down again? Basically, I'm asking if that is the blueprint to stopping him, or has his confidence elevated to the point where that wouldn't work?
He had a bad ankle that game also.
meta-question: why does the "Essentials" section of the basketball previews feature the Kenpom line, as opposed to the football previews, which have the betting line? Seems strange that you would switch it up rather than keep it consistent (obviously using Massey or something for football lines, if you prefer computer lines to betting lines, since Kenpom doesn't do football). Seems doubly strange to not have the betting line since the Kenpom line gets its own section in basketball previews anyhow.
At least the ones not sitting on couches...
We held Iowa to 4 fastbreak points. If we come anywhere close to that number Saturday it's gonna trouble for staee.
gets cold in the 2nd half falls 10 points behind then in the final 2 minutes nails consecutive 3 pointers and with 1 seconds left down by 2 Stauskas gets a 3 to drop for a 1 point victory in Lansing!!!
Can't wait to see the ever so clever "Don't Hail" shirts in MSU's student section!
Apparently Vegas agreed with Kenpom and install MSU as 5.5 point fav despite Payne's and Dawson's injury. Real bad feeling that Harris and Appling are going to hv a big game tonight..