Be sure to check out bterp’s rundown of the Minnesota game. Bterp is, in ascending order of importance, the following:
3) The Official Brother of the Brother-in-Law of the Spartans Weblog.
2) A DirecTV subscriber–so he actually, you know, watches all the games.
1) Someone who knows something about playing basketball–as opposed to someone who knows how to perform various statistical manipulations on a box score.
So pay him heed, Spartans Weblog faithful.
Steve Grinczel worries about “interceptions for touchdown”–turnovers that lead directly to baskets. He notes that Northwestern leads the league in 3-pointers per game and turnover margin, which together could be the formula for an upset Thursday night. He also quotes Izzo on the 18 turnovers vs. Minnesota:
“Turnovers are a still a deficiency,” Izzo said. “If you add them up, there were three stepped-out-of-bounds, three charges, seven travels… the majority of them aren’t of the bad-pass nature.”
That’s 13 of the 18 turnovers in the unforced error category (relatively unforced, at least). Grinczel implies these aren’t as bad because they’re like punts; the other team still has to run its offense to score. But the unforced error turnovers are also the most bothersome because they’re (1) not the result of being pressed (which can also lead to easy baskets) or (2) trying to create a scoring opportunity. This is probably a topic for a future post: the classification of turnovers. I could bust out a Venn diagram.
Seth Davis gives kudos to the Spartans for a quality road win in Minneapolis and notes that many of the teams in bottom half of the AP poll have at least one bad loss already. This helps explain why MSU is still at #10. I guess we have to remember our team isn’t the only one to occasionally drop a bad game–although most teams score more than 36 points when doing so.
Programming note: Sunday’s home game against the Wolverines is now a 1:00 start (previously noon).
Speaking of the Wolverines, UMhoops asserts that Dave Dye’s recent blog post, which cites fan comparisons of John Beilein to Brian Ellerbe, appears somewhat unjournalistic. I’d tend to agree. And I don’t think it’s fair at this point to compare Beilein–who is trying to implement new offensive and defensive systems without much talent to work with–to Ellerbe–who inherited quite a bit of talent (Traylor, Bullock, Baston) and proceeded to run the program completely into the ground. Dye usually does a pretty good job–so chalk this one up to a moment of snarkiness.
Finally, reason #64 that, for all its flaws, college basketball is so much better than the NBA: Count the number of steps Mr. Billups takes before he launches his game-tying 3-pointer (go to the 1:20 mark of the embedded video below for a close-up view of the play). I count four. The rule book says you get, at most, two. Basketball is a tough sport to officiate, but the traveling call is a pretty easy one to make. While the NBA has clearly made the decision that playing according to fixed rules isn’t good for the league, the college game is making steps back toward fundamental play by, for example, putting an emphasis on calling palming violations.