OT: Graham Couch: MSU Basketball 2016 Going the Way of MSU Football 2016?

Submitted by jimmyshi03 on December 19th, 2016 at 1:12 PM

Alex Carder's publicity agent writes that he's seeing parralels between the Spartan cagers, who lost to Northeastern Sunday, and the 3-9 football team. Specifically:

"MSU’s basketball team is facing a similar dynamic to what its football team endured this year: Its most gifted players are its younger players; many of its veterans are better followers than leaders; it’s shaky in the trenches; and its 2013 recruiting class isn’t contributing."




December 19th, 2016 at 1:19 PM ^

No. They aren't THAT bad. MSU notoriously schedules very tough and has 4 losses to Top 20 Kenpom teams (two of which, neutral site vs Arizona and @Duke, were close). A home loss to Northeastern certainly should sound some alarm bells and put their annual tourney bid in jeopardy, but there is plenty of time for Izzo to salvage this season to some degree.

Lose to Oakland on Wednesday and then I would officially press the panic button. 

James Burrill Angell

December 19th, 2016 at 1:26 PM ^

I can see the parallels, particularly that both teams are depending on young talent. However, you can do that in basketball (see Kentucky). Izzo teams usually have a little early season stumble. Talk to me in February/March and we'll see where he's got them. You can't fault a bunch of their losses so far because they're to top ten teams.Northeastern is a bad one though. Like I said, lets wait and see for another six weeks.


December 19th, 2016 at 1:27 PM ^

but MSU really isn't playing like a touranment team and they shoul dhave (actually did) lose to Florida Gulf Coast but for the timekeeper mismanaging the clock in their favor. 

I know he's been to the final four and final game a bunch of times but Izzo hasn't won a natty in 17 years, had the early exit last year and is now experimenting with 1 and done.   If that isn't working I think they are on the downslide. 



December 19th, 2016 at 1:59 PM ^

That's the problem though. Izzo trying his hand at one and dones means he has to adjust something with his coaching or they will be on the downswing every year. This team would look a lot better with Deyonte Davis on it, but Izzo ran him off by not playing him and pissing him off. Bridges will be gone next year and his talent will be wasted. Izzo is really shitty with one and dones, so basically he will keep this cycle going until he either adapts or retires. If Ward goes pro next year, they will be in the same situation. This is all on Izzo and it is awesome to witness


December 19th, 2016 at 2:07 PM ^

I think one of your points is among the most important.  Izzo has built his program on the "upperclassmen starter" - the Kentuckys, Kansas and increasingly Dukes have been going for the short and done.  Izzo just moved that way with Gary Harris who was his first early entry since something like Jason Richardson and Zach Randolph.  I mean that was a decade ago so he has had a massive benefit of guys staying with him in an era where people lose talent quickly - having talented seniors who CAN go to the NBA is rare luxury in college basketball.  i.e. Nik S was in same class as Denzel - Nik left after 2 years, imagine if he had stayed as a JR and SR.  That is what Izzo benefited from.

Now Izzo is relying on true freshman.  That's not his style.  With the exception of Gary Harris almost every freshman goes there and Izzo breaks them down and rebuilds them up.  It's usually a multi year process.  It works in the long run more often than not but you can't break down guys when you need them immediately. 

And they have suffered badly on the front line - Deytona Davis leaving, Schilling hurt, and they tried to bridge the ford with a grad transfer who also immediately got hurt in the offseason. 

Luckily for them the Big10 is generally crap this season, some of the off season losses even with the Indiana types are jarring.  So they might get a .500 record as Bridges is the type of talent lacking in the Big 10 this season.

But the transition to relying on the young guys is something that is brand new in Izzo's career.  So far not so good.  (Langford has looked pretty bad thus far as an aside)


December 19th, 2016 at 5:37 PM ^

Absolutely true.  I do wonder if Bridges comes back; this team would be terrifying with them as Jrs and Srs, but it also seems like at least Bridges didn't expect to stick around.  Winston and Langford might stick around longer, but it does seem like a team that probably has too much young talent to work with Izzo's style.

MGJS SuperKick Party

December 19th, 2016 at 2:35 PM ^

Well, the guy did miss the shot at the buzzer (let's ignore the fact that it was going off earlier than he expected and that could have and prolly did throw off his shot) so they did win that one.

The most concerning thing to me - they can't make free throws. They are so dang bad.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


December 19th, 2016 at 1:23 PM ^

Dear MSU:

Sadly we know just how you feel and it SUCKS.  Try and hang your proveberial "hat" so-to-speak on the non-revenue sports and take comfort there if you can.  Doesn't help much but at least it's something.

Go softball!  Go swimming!  Go field hockey!

Michiganderly Yours,

The University of Michigan 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2014


December 19th, 2016 at 2:12 PM ^

Problem is they pretty much suck at nearly everything now other than like women's cross country.  The one thing they used to be good at all the time when I was growing up was hockey.  They suck now there and have for a # of years.  But Mark Hollis walks on water because he inherited Izzo, and was part of a 9 man committee who plucked an Ohio guy with OSU and MSU ties as a football coach.  And will play a basketball game on the moon and such.  But if you exclude those 2 sports, MSU sports is not a very warm and hospitable place the past few years.  So now without those 2 rolling... all I know is Spartan Devotee is sad.


December 19th, 2016 at 1:25 PM ^

But all MSU has to do is sniff the tournament with their record anf they're in, even as a play-in. Izzo gets his team going like a boulder down a hill that gets steeper as the season goes. He just hasn't given that rock a push...yet. We'll see when we get to March.


December 19th, 2016 at 1:31 PM ^

will be fine, it will be a typical MSU year. 

We are going through the part of the Michigan State basketball season where they "totally suck(!)."  Eventually they will get going and play some good basketball and everybody will start calling Izzo "Mr. March" and they will become the hot pick to win it all and get put in a cake bracket.  Then, inevitably, they will falter and underperform, but the local and national media will make excuses for Izzo and have him on their talk shows the next day, and he will talk at length about being in the college basketball Hall of Fame or some other irrelevant topic, the hosts will have a good chuckle and then he will be roundly praised as a class act. 

Then two of his players will get arrested but he will escape unscathed as having any influence in their life aside from teaching them how to shoot and rebound, preserving his what- a-guy image.

Then they will be ranked from #11-14 next year preseason.

That is EXACTLY what will happen.

Everyone Murders

December 19th, 2016 at 1:48 PM ^

Spoiler alert next time, please. 

But yeah - sounds about right.  And in fairness to MSU (throws up a little), they have a lot of young talent that will in fact improve over the course of the season.  Plus one of their best players likely won't have a gimpy ankle all season.

LS And Play

December 19th, 2016 at 1:29 PM ^

For what it's worth, this month is the 1-year anniversary of Mike Valenti declaring the MSU football-basketball combination the best in college sports. 3-9 and NIT.