MSU romps again, winning 112-69 in roughly an 85-possession game. (I predict our record will be very good in game of 80 possessions or more.)
I tried to follow the on-line video stream, but, like most viewers, only saw pieces of the game. (Note to the BTN front office: You’re not doing yourselves any favors by providing a service that only ends up frustrating the vast majority of people who try to use it). On offense, several players stood out:
- Raymar Morgan showed great confidence shooting the ball from 3-point range. We hadn’t seen that in previous preseason outings. Morgan made all three of his 3-point attempts, contributing to his 23 points.
- Marquise Gray was brimming with confidence, scoring 16 points on 8-10 shooting. At one point he had the ball under pressure in the high post and simply spun around to knock down a 16-foot jumper.
- Travis Walton showed nice touch on several shots, scoring 10 points on 4-8 shooting.
- Korie Lucious put up 9 assists. He clearly know how to run the fast break.
MSU pulled down 63 of 96 rebounding opportunities. I’m not sure how meaningful that is against a team like Lake Superior State, but it makes for an impressive box score.
Defensively, I think there were more lapses than Tom Izzo would have liked. Mark Morse led LSSU with 19 points on 5-7 three-point shooting.
Of greater concern were the easy buckets MSU gave up when they applied full-court pressure. The scheme I saw them use against Northern last week was basically a man-to-man scheme. I don’t think they were doing anything differently tonight, but somehow the Lakers managed to slip free and score several easy baskets against it. Given that the full court pressure MSU is applying isn’t designed to create bunches of turnovers, they can’t afford to give up easy points off it.
Going into the first regular season game this Sunday (vs. Idaho at 6:00 on BTN), I see nine guys I think will certainly be in the playing rotation (they’re roughly sorted from small to big):
It’s unclear who, if anyone, will grab the 10th spot. From a skill-set standpoint, Draymond Green would make sense, as someone who can play both the 3 and 4 spots, backing up Morgan. If Izzo uses a small line-up most of the time, though, it could be a perimeter guy. Austin Thornton continues to impress, showing good all-around ability with the potential to be a solid perimeter shooting threat, too. He may have moved ahead of Dahlman in the pecking order at this point (he came into the game with the first batch of subs tonight and played 15 minutes, vs. Dahlman’s 10). Ibok and Herzog will be used when needed to absorb fouls, but I don’t see how they become regular contributors, particularly in light of the up-tempo style Izzo wants the team to play.
All the pieces are certainly there, with a few to spare in the case of injury. In six days, we’ll see how Izzo mixes and matches them against Division 1 competition.