MSU From 1000 Feet

Submitted by Brian on January 24th, 2014 at 12:58 PM

UNIMPORTANT ASIDE: Big Ten refs are… trying. The over and back rule requires both the ball and your entire body to be across the line to kick in.


lolver and back

Cumong man.

Anyway. On to the Titanic Matchup Of Teams Missing Key Large Persons.

It really does not seem like Payne is going to play. Joe Rexrode keeps assuring everyone that this is not a mind game being played by Izzo so Payne can storm out of the locker room Willis Reed-style. For one:

Rexrode: on Adreian Payne, "he's doing nothing [in practice]... I think it's very unlikely he'll play, and may not play for a few weeks."

I was under the erroneous impression that Payne's thing was an ankle issue; it is instead the nasty and persistent plantar fasciitis.

Even if Payne does dress, having missed so much practice time would leave him rusty and out of shape, matched up against a guy who just loves to run the floor for buckets. I know it's hard to believe MSU will leave the guy on the bench, but despite that it seems like the thing to do is look at this game like he's not available.

bilde[1]Matt Costello Oakland v Michigan State 7cvnFqPa2Ukl[1]

Kaminski and Costello step into starting roles.

Meet the new frontcourt, then. State has four large persons available for their frontcourt spots: junior Alex Gauna, sophomore Matt Costello, and freshmen Kenny Kaminski and Gavin Schilling. Kaminski is the only one with any sort of perimeter game* and is likely to get all of his minutes at the 4; the other three guys will split 40 minutes at the 5 and there may be some sections of the game where two are out there.

We discussed Kaminski a bit yesterday: he's 6'8" and sits in the corner hitting threes on offense. That's about all he does; his 6.5 DREB rate is in the Nnanna Egwu realm, and while you would expect that to uptick in the absence of Dawson, Kaminski is usually replacing him and most of his playing time has come recently, with Payne out.

Schilling, Costello, and 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.

Finally, MSU will probably check out a lineup with 6'5" Denzel Valentine at the 4, because Kaminski isn't going the whole way and Valentine provides offense none of the tall guys do.

*[For those that remember the early MSU blitz of Michigan targets in the class that eventually became Stauskas/LeVert/Albrecht/McGary/Robinson, this is an inversion of expectation. Kaminski was the one guy Beilein did not offer and Costello was supposed to be the Beilein-style skilled post who can take threes.]

Goodbye to all boards. Well, not all boards. But lots. When Michigan meets Michigan State, Michigan gets murdered on the boards. The last two years:

  • 2012-13 @ Breslin: M gives up 14 OREB, a 37% rate, loses by 23.
  • 2012-13 @ Crisler: M gives up 19(!) OREB, a 50% rate, wins by one despite hitting zero three pointers. How in the hell did they win that game?
  • 2011-12 @ Breslin: M gives up 12 OREB, a 48% rate, loses by ten.
  • 2011-12 @ Crisler: M gives up 9 OREB, a 36% rate, wins by 1.
  • In most of these games Michigan responded to this blizzard of second chances with two or three OREBs of their own. It has been an enormous blowout for MSU in this department for four straight games, and it's a miracle Michigan pulled out the two home games by one point despite the bombing. MSU went into each game expecting a massive possession advantage and got it.

A repeat was already looking less likely this year as MSU exchanged Derrick Nix for Denzel Valentine. MSU's OREB rate on the season—one accumulated against a number of tiny nonconference opponents and mostly with the services of Payne and Dawson—is a pedestrian 141st nationally, a big drop from top-50 output the last two years.

Now with Dawson and Payne out MSU has lost more than half of their putback attempts on the year—35 of their 62. The rest of MSU's rebounding numbers are deflated by Dawson and Payne picking up so much of that responsibility, but I think the expectation going in here is that this should be an even matchup. Dawson's OREB rate is elite; they're replacing him with guys who don't provide even half of what he does; they were already just average.

They can D, probably. MSU's defense is tenth in Kenpom and when you click over to just the conference stats they leap to first thanks to huge block and TO rates and excellent two-point defense. Then you look at their schedule.

Big ten offenses come in bands this year.

  • ELITE: Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin are in the top five.
  • REAL GOOD: MSU and Minnesota are 26th and 16th, respectively.
  • GRIM: Penn State is the only other top 100 offense in the league and they're at 88th; OSU, Purdue, Nebraska, Illinois, and Indiana follow, ranging down to 161st.
  • NORTHWESTERN: The Wildcats are 325th.

MSU has played only teams in the grim zone save one against Minnesota in which they gave up 75 points in a 73-possession OT game. Michigan is on a whole different level from MSU opposition so far, leading the league by five points in eFG%.

And they're now shooting. Previously-reliable bricklayer Keith Appling was 25% from three as a sophomore and 32% as a junior; now he's at 43%. This is the major change in his game from a year ago; he has also incrementally improved his A:TO ratio. That plus Travis Trice and Kaminski's blazing introduction has seen them hit nearly 40% of their threes in Big Ten play, and that seems like a more realistic number than their season average given the increased prominence Kaminski will have going forward.

They still don't take a ton of threes—they are Michigan State, after all—but this is going to look like a four-out-one-in offense that will be extremely disorienting to MSU fans.

Gary Harris is kind of good. Surprise! He's more of a shooter than Stauskas is these days, with more than half of his shots from behind the line. He's only hitting 33%, though. Harris is also their best perimeter defender and can expect to draw Stauskas duty, at least until he picks up a foul. I don't think Izzo wants to match up a foul magnet like Stauskas up against his most critical offensive player all night.



January 24th, 2014 at 1:10 PM ^

Should be classified as Elite, Real Good, Grim, and Northwestern.

"I did some extra credit which bumped my grade from a Grim-plus to a Real Good-minus"


January 24th, 2014 at 1:17 PM ^

Yeah that over-and-back was terrible.  The ball wasn't even close to being over the line.  But that call wasn't half as bad as the foul call on Morgan where he didn't even touch the Iowa shooter.

winged wolverine

January 24th, 2014 at 1:23 PM ^

Those two calls were incredible, and they didn't show replays for either one. With the overg and back Morgan my first thought was he only had one foot over the line, and the ball never crossed, but they didn't show it.

On the Morgan "foul," they showed multiple replays and not once did I see contact. I was surprised Dakich didn't go off.


January 24th, 2014 at 2:18 PM ^

call is routinely butchered at all levels. And usually when you are at a game, especially in high school and the over and back scenario seems like it ought to be called and then isn't, it always gets a big fan reaction, especially when a guy is bringing the ball upcourt and stops his dribble midway across the center line. I agree though, you only call the violation when both feet and ball cross the line illegally. 

As for the phantom and-one on Morgan, I think he gets a lot of ticky-tack contact calls against him. The thing that bugged me about that call, was not the fact that he didn't touch him, that later, when Robinson made his two-handed dunk, he got slapped big time at  the rim with no call. 

Two schools of thought about officiating. There is no question officials get caught up in the emotion of a contest. And certain calls reflect this. They are more likely to call subtle contact and a big time hammer block, even if it's clean (recall the clean Burke block on the breakaway layup late in the NC game) then a highly contested shot that goes in.

The other point is one to watch. Because officials work as a team, they will never criticize each other and will always back the other up. However, sometimes, when you watch a game, and a guy makes a call out of his area or one that another official didn't whistle, watch the non-calling official's face for his reaction. Sometimes, that tells you exactly what he thought of that call. I've seen that happen a few times on TV this season in Big Ten games, guys grimacing or reacting, when the camera caught them. 

The Big Ten has some great officials, but there are a few who are pretty weak. That crew the other night was less than top notch. 




January 24th, 2014 at 1:28 PM ^

Not only do I expect Payne to suit up and play it would not surprise me in the least if freaking Dawson was in uniform thanks to a miracle recovery of his allegedly broken hand.

I have learned through the years that our uniforms have magical healing powers - especially in East Lansing & Columbus.


January 24th, 2014 at 1:31 PM ^

Your entire body can cross.  The rule is 3 points basically.  The ball is one and both feet are the others.


So you can dribble in the backcourt with both feet in the front court, put one foot back in the backcourt, bring the ball over and still not be over.  All 3 at the same time to be considered "over" half court.


In the play against Iowa our player only had one foot established over half court.


Officials never seem to quite get this correct and it drives me insane.


January 24th, 2014 at 2:17 PM ^

could play with plantar fasciitis, as it is symptomatically treatable but then he would be set back if he is on a therapy schedule.  It depends on their approach to the BgTn schedule and whether they want him 100% for March.   I would expect him not to play as they are playing well and have only 1 nonconference  loss and are undefeated in BgTn play.  Their last 4 games are Mich, Illinois, Iowa and @ OSU which could have BgTn championship repercussions.  I would expect that they will hold him out for the next 2-3 weeks then gear up for that final run before March.


January 24th, 2014 at 2:41 PM ^

it doesn't matter who plays for MSU, it's about Michigan playing its game and dictating tempo and forcing Sparty to match baskets. I don't think they can, not the way their offense has functioned lately. 

As Brian noted in his catalog of offensive efficiency, Sparty hasn't played anyone lately who is playing at Michigan's offensive efficiency level. The way you survive Sparty, is by making shots, something that Breslin and the Izzone makes extremely difficult for visitors because of its well-earned raucous environment. You win by overcoming the hostile setting and not getting worn down defensively by MSU's grinding extra-chance offense and transition game. 

Sparty wins most of the time because they wear their opponents out defensively and on the boards. 

The problem with Michigan in beating MSU at Breslin under Belein is that his offense is so precision and shot-efficiency oriented without emphasis on second shots, that unless you are on, you can experience a lot of empty trips and difficult margins to overcome unless you get a sufficient amount of fast break points of your own. 

The reciipe for beating MSU is the same as beating Iowa, except with different matchups and philosophy. Most of their points come from their backcourt and dribble penetration setting up the perimeter looks or inside scoring. Michigan needs to guard Harris and Appling and let Valentine shoot all day beyond 15 feet. 

I think the size matchups in this contest favor Michigan, especially in the backcourt. And I think Michigan's confidence coming into this game is a like light years different from the attitude they had coming into this contest a year ago. 

One more point, last year, Michigan's offense was easier for Sparty to check with Burke and Hardaway taking a majority of the shots. The offense can't be checked the same way this year. So, that makes Michigan a harder to defense especially when it spaces the floor. 

Key Play

January 24th, 2014 at 2:45 PM ^

Seemed fishy at the time.  This replay makes it crystal clear.  I just love Morgan's reactions now when he gets a BS foul on him. First surprise, then anger, then laughter with clapping. Almost every time in that exact order. He is just a joy to watch as a basketball player. Even more fun because he is 1 million years old.

One can only dream what college basketball would be like if players all had to stay in school. Next years lineup- Senior Trey Burke, Junior Nik Stauskas, Jr Caris Levert/Soph Zak Irvin, Jr. GR3, Jr. Mitch McGary. That team would crush.


January 24th, 2014 at 3:17 PM ^

Sparty will probably employ some of the tactics that Lousiville used last year in spite of the new rules on clutch and grab defense,  Its at Lansing so don't expect any slack on calls.  That said I believe this will be a really entertaining game that comes down to the last shot.