I’m hitting the road for Indy shortly. Here’s your open thread to converse before, during, and after tonight’s game. I may or may not post a game recap tonight after the game; if I don’t, I’ll get the post up in the morning.
- A KenPom Preview: Michigan State
Interesting to get the tempo-free-analysis treatment for our own stats. Rock Chalk Talk sounds like us: worried about turnovers and 3-point shooting.
- Rocks, Chalks and Jayhawks
In case you were wondering about the origins of those three words.
- Michigan State’s prolific rebounding a product of hard work, desire
. . . and sweat, and tears, and football helmets, and . . .
- Goran Suton’s flight still rising
More fawning over G. Only took the media 4 and a half years to get to this story.
- Balanced offense makes Spartans tough to guard
“10 players, including senior forward Marquise Gray, have held or shared scoring honors in 34 games this season.” Bill Self says he won’t use a gimmick defense against us. But did he pinky swear on it?
- The Silver Lining
Purdue is out. The fate of the Big Ten rests solely with us now.
- Plenty of good basketball left in E.L. this weekend
Derrick Nix and co. playing at Breslin today.
I’ve obviously been negligent in my blogging duties this week. (Take this as proof that ceasing operations at this site is an unavoidable eventuality.) I will leave you with my own gut feeling on tonight’s game: We win tonight, unless we beat ourselves. Tom Izzo will have a defensive gameplan that will ensure that Collins and Aldrich don’t beat us by themselves; another Jayhawk player will have to step up. Beyond that, our fate will hinge on (1) offensive execution, (2) three-point shooting (on both ends), and (3) foul trouble (either way).
The obvious pick for the key MSU player is Raymar Morgan. Can he take advantage of the less experienced Kansas wing players? I’ll throw in Durrell Summers, too. With Aldrich in the lane, scoring in the paint is going to be a challenge. Because of his high release, Summers can get a 3-point shot off even against a team that knows it might be coming. If he can knock down a shot or two early, that could open up the ability to drive and score on some mid-range shots, as well.
In terms of intangibles, I think it’s a wash. Kansas is the younger team, so the added hype of playing at the Sweet Sixteen level may affect them more. On the other hand, there’s less pressure on them than there is on us to advance to next round. The bottom line is that these are two solid teams that both won the regular season title in pretty deep conferences; this should be a great game.
There you go. Three paragraphs of original (if not rigorously analytical) blogging. Enjoy tonight’s action and . . .