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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Turnovers Don’t Fit with Michigan State Point Guard Tradition, Kalin Lucas

michigan state basketball izzo

When the Big Ten Network produced a program highlighting the most storied position traditions of excellence in the conference, Michigan State point guards took home the overall slot. All those decades of college basketball and college football and the number one is the men who have manned “the one” in East Lansing. NBA superstars, Team USA and college legends, guys like Scott Skiles, Magic Johnson, Mateen Cleaves, Drew Neitzel, Steve Smith and Eric Snow.

Playing point guard at Michigan State is a position of great power that comes with great responsibility and great scrutiny. Kalin Lucas holds the position now, with top ten freshman recruit and former Michigan Mr. Basketball Keith Appling waiting in the wings.

Appling is now starting and, along with Lucas, bringing the ball up and setting the offense. His move to the starting five gives State two point guards in the lineup; and an upgrade in ball-handling skills.

It’s mandatory because their biggest issue is turnovers.

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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Northwestern takes Michigan State Down to the Wire

Tom Izzo

Although the final outcome was still a loss, it was a much more exciting and interesting loss to Michigan State this time for Northwestern, who took one of their toughest Big Ten opponents down to the final possession.

No wants to believe in nor accept moral victories, but losing to the #18 Spartans, when your star forward John Shurna (the Big Ten’s leading scorer) is clearly not anywhere near himself, is not the worst thing in the world.

By Paul M. Banks

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Saturdays with Izzo: Michigan St.-Michigan Rivalry

By Jeff Ghiringhelli and 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 our first installment, we discuss the rivalry with Michigan.

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