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Friday Morning Links

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Updates:

At least one reader (Mark in DC) thinks recovering from a broken bone in your foot/ankle can potentially be as complicated as an ACL injury.  Anyone else have information on this topic?

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Pregame Reading

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Coffee talk question of massive cosmic proportions (and yes, I realize, “massive cosmic” may be redundant): For the last two games, I’ve worn the same green Nike dri-fit shirt with a block S on it (along with exactly the same white long sleeve shirt underneath, blue jeans, belt, socks, shoes, and underwear [washed between wearings, of course–I’m not (quite) that crazy]).  As you’re aware, the game results associated with this clothing combination have been very encouraging.  I feel this must now be my go-to shirt from a it’s-not-superstition-if-it’s-working standpoint.

BUT, MSU is now asking all its fans to wear white to tomorrow night’s game.  So what do I do?  Put the emphasis on solidarity with my Spartan brethren–which I value highly?  Or stick to the superstition thing?  I’m leaning toward door number 2, as changing course now could lead to years of regret should the team lose.  But I will definitely consider reader input as I get dressed tomorrow morning.

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Final Four Eve Links

Coffee Talk: Less than 20 hours to go, my friends. What does you gut say about the game outcome?

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Thursday Night Links

What to do with Mr. Ibok

For a fifth-year scholarship player, Idong Ibok has logged very few minutes this year.  158 minutes, to be exact.  But he’s played an effective role in those minutes, serving as a designated defender against opponents with true centers of the seven-foot (or near-seven-foot) variety.  His last seven outings of 5 minutes or more have come against this group of four players: Cole Aldrich (twice), Ralph Sampson (thrice), Mike Tisdale, and JuJuan Johnson.

Upon casual analysis, then, one might expect Mr. Ibok to log 10-15 minutes or so against the 7’3″ Hasmeen Thabeet on Saturday.  I wonder, though, whether that would be playing right into UConn’s hands.  Consider:

  • Thabeet is, by most accounts, not a terribly polished post player.  The most important thing, then, is to keep him away from the basket so he’s not in position for easy baskets off passes or rebounds.  Goran Suton, Delvon Roe, or even Draymond Green might be better suited to that task.  Ibok tends to be most effective against players who are going to post up and try to shoot over their defenders.
  • On the other end of the court, Thabeet would be able to rotate off Ibok to block the shots of MSU players driving the lane with little danger of Ibok scoring off a pass.  If Thabeet is forced to guard Suton, that clearly creates an advantage for MSU (but may require going with a small lineup).  And, while neiter Delvon Roe and Draymond Green have shown great outside shooting ability to date, they are both quite capable of converting shots 5-8 feet from the basket and/or making good passes when the defense is scrambling to rotate.

What do you guys think?  Do we throw our seven-footer at theirs?  Or concede the height differential and focus on creating a mismatch of our own?

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I [heart] Tom Izzo

Don’t mess with the Big Ten:

If you’re a great defensive team, you aren’t going to score as many points just because you don’t have as many possessions, because it’s going to take– if you’re a great defensive team and a great offensive team, you still only get so many shots, you’re only going to score so many points. It’s going to take people 30 seconds, because you’re not going to give up the layup on the fast break, we’re going to make them earn it. If it takes them 30 seconds to score instead of 10, that’s 20 less seconds we get the ball back.

“So you can’t get deceived on what great offense and great defense is. At times have we’ve been – favorite word – dysfunctional, whatever words you guys want to use. Yeah, I’m the one that said it. I said our offense isn’t as smooth because guys aren’t maybe together on it. We’re not practicing with the same guys. We’re playing 100%. But this little bit of national perspective and everything on the Big Ten, let me see now, it’s been 11 years. We’ve been to five. There’s been four or five other teams. In 11 years, there’s been pretty good representation in the greatest game of all, the greatest weekend of all, that’s the Final Four.

Michigan State’s Tom Izzo defends Big Ten’s style of play

HT on the video clip: UMHoops.

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