- I’m back, with a response to an MSU editorial
Hear, hear. G0EL Pete deconstructs inane rantings from “Spartan Nation.”
- Loose Balls: December 16
Hoopraker: “The sulks and sighs directed toward Coach Izzo seemed more passionate and apologetic when he was a Freshman, but as a Junior, it would behoove the Spartans if Raymar Morgan restrained the grimaces and toughened up.”
- On the Road
Future Spartan Keith Appling (Detroit Pershing) is out 4-6 weeks with a broken hand.
- When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball (Hardcover)
Coming in March from SI writer Seth Davis. When you think about it, it’s surprising this book hasn’t been written yet. (Affiliate link)
- MSU’s Javon Ringer named All-American
Glad to see this recognition for Ringer after the beating he took this year. But it does reflect a down year of running backs nationally; 4.3 yards/carry is not an All-American stat.
8:00 Wednesday. The Breslin Center. BTN.
The Citadel comes in at 5-5, but only three of those five wins are against Division 1 opponents. The program does appear to be improving, though, as they posted a record of just 2-24 vs. Division 1 competition last year. By beating UNC-Greensboro earlier this month, they’ve already matched the number of wins they posted in Southern Conference play last season, when they went 1-19 against conference opponents.
All nine of the players in The Citadel’s* rotation last season return this year. Seven of those players were freshman last season. 6’1″ sophomore guard Cameron Wells leads the way for the Bulldogs. He currently leads the team in scoring (15.8 points/game), rebounding (6.6 per game), and assists (2.4 per game). And he’s been pretty efficient, posting shooting percentages of .511/.400/.718. Wells has taken 5 more shots per game than any other member of the team; he can expect a heavy dose of Travis Walton tomorrow night.
*Having to include the “The” every time you refer to this team is somewhat aggravating.
6’8″ senior forward/center Demetrius Nelson is averaging 12.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, while shooting .648 from the field, after missing most of last season due to a foot injury. Among The Citadel’s top seven players in terms of minutes played, Nelson (250 pounds) is the only player who weighs more than 215 pounds. So MSU will almost certainly be able to take advantage in the post.
The tempo-free numbers would indicate that The Citadel will not represent much of a challenge for MSU. Last year, they ranked dead last in the country in raw defensive efficiency, and that ranking has not improved much this year. They’ve given up easy shots, particularly from 3-point range (opponent’s 3pt%=38.6%) and have failed to create turnovers (DefTO%=18.2%).
The Bulldogs do represent a challenge in terms of MSU showing that it can play efficiently at a slower tempo. The Citadel ranks 338th in the nation in pace, playing at just under 60 possessions/game. If MSU can’t impose its will in the half-court offense–particularly in light of our size advantage–I’ll be concerned.
Offensively, the closest thing The Citadel has to a strength is holding on to the ball. They gave it up on 19.2% of possessions last season. That figure is up slightly to 20.1% this season.
Consistent with a smaller team that plays at a slow pace, they take a lot of three-point shots (3FGA/FGA=40.6%). But they haven’t made many of those attempts (3FG%=29.6%). They did shoot 38.1% from beyond the arc last season, though, so the potential is there for the Bulldogs to knock down a few 3-pointers to keep the game close.
Sagarin predicts a Spartan victory by 27 points in this one. This game won’t be a barn-burner like the Alcorn State game was, but it should be a solid MSU win nonetheless.
Update: G0EL Pete also does us a service by providing some historical background regarding THE Citadel.