Michigan State Loses 71-62 in Champaign, Blows Chance at Road Win

Tom Izzo

A big reason Michigan State won back to back Big Ten titles in ’09-’10 is their superior road record. The last two years MSU is 16-5 away from home. They had a school record 8 road wins in  2009, and followed it up with a 7-2 mark the following season.

However, this year outside of the Breslin Center has been a totally different story. The Spartans fell to the Illini in Champaign Tuesday night, in a game both teams needed in order to stay in the conference race.

The loss dropped State’s road record to 1-3 in 2010-11. Their only road win was at Northwestern on January 3rd. State is currently 12-6, 4-2 in conference, with all but one of their losses coming to a ranked opponent.

MSU’s second leading scorer, Durrell Summers, was benched tonight and at first glance you night read that sentence and quote the classic film Dodgeball: “Interesting strategy Cotton, let’s see if it pays off for ’em.”

But Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo made switch in order to make a statement.

By Paul M. Banks
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Michigan State Has Found Their Legitimate Starting Five Now

msu hoops

Following Michigan State’s narrow escape over Oakland on December 11th, I tweeted to my followers what I believed MSU’s starting lineup should be: a three guard cadre of Durrell Summers, Kalin Lucas, Keith Appling with Delvon Roe and Draymond Green up front.

I then tweeted an abbreviated/condensed version of why I felt this would work.

First, having two true point guards (and the requisite ball-handing skills) on the floor at the same time would help ameliorate State’s biggest issue this year- turnovers.

Secondly, Lucas is just not himself after the Achilles and who knows if/when he ever will be. He’s better served as a scorer off the ball now than as primary distributor. Perfect for Appling, who’s defense is way ahead of his scoring right now. Let him bring the ball up and set the offense.

By Paul M. Banks

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Draymond Green Needs to Lead Michigan State out of Doldrums

Draymond Green MSU

I’m beginning to think Kalin Lucas is overrated. Sure he’s accomplished a lot in his college basketball career, but the MSU floor general is the main culprit for all these Michigan State Spartans turnovers. The #8 Syracuse Orange gave #7 Mich St. a good ole fashioned whopping Tuesday night, and much of it was due to the shoddy ball-handling.

And a lot of that is on Lucas, the starting point guard; who had 6 TOs to go with just 2 assists. State now has as many 20+ turnover games this year as they had all of last year, and they have committed more turnovers than assists in half their games thus far.

Maybe their primary ball-handler, Lucas, isn’t really himself? Less than half of those athletes who suffer major Achilles injuries ever come back at full strength.

Maybe it’s a different player on State who needs to lead the Spartans back up to the top, and get them ready for Big Ten play?

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Fridays with Izzo: Sports “Saving” a City Storyline

By Paul M. Banks

Welcome to a new quasi-weekly feature where we discuss some of the biggest topics in the Michigan State Spartan world, including the insight and observations of legendary MSU coach Tom Izzo. In this edition, we talk about the idea of a successful sports team becoming a battered city’s salvation.

Despite what ESPN, the Chicago Tribune and other corporate media outlets have told you this week, sports does not and cannot save a city in ruins. This week, we incessantly heard about the Saints’ rise supposedly redeeming the city of New Orleans. We’ve been told that the Saints’ winning ways are somehow accelerating the post Katrina rebuilding process. As if each Reggie Bush touchdown run somehow alleviates another unemployed individual out of crippling poverty.

Last April, the MSM wouldn’t leave us alone with their sappy, sentimental “Michigan St. makes the Final Four taking place in their home state, in Detroit; and a Spartans win can lift Detroit out of the economic rubble, as the financial crisis hit this area harder than any other place in the city.”

One man often at the center of those stories was Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo, who seemed to offer a very different viewpoint on this topic from mine. Therefore, his thoughts might offer the perfect test to the validity of my position. Like Friedrich Nietzsche said “the thinking man has no need for refutation- for that he suffices within himself.” So, I wanted to see if I could become a thinking man, and I gave Izzo’s arguments a chance to refute me.

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