+3

  1. I’m so happy for Miles Bridges and Tom Izzo. Bridges is the best person, that is a great player, as you will ever find your entire life. For that kid to come back, go through the challenges of the move to the three spot, and have that kind of game with the game-winning shot is a fairy tale. Coach Izzo is MSU. He has been a man of character and integrity his entire life.  Ask anyone who knows him, has played for him, or even had one interaction with him.  He is Iron Mountain integrity through and through.  He has been unfairly dragged into the mud, and he doesn’t deserve it. He does things the right way in his program and lives the right way off the court.  If Tom Izzo’s moral compass isn’t strong enough to lead a program, then you are going to have to fire about 300 other coaches tomorrow. Those two DESERVE this.
  2. The bench was huge. Look, I was shocked Ward sat as much as he did.  I was frustrated by Jackson’s fouls and play.  But that is why I coach at my level, and Izzo does his.  Schilling did all he could against Haas and was the most effective.  Goins was the primary defender on Vince Edwards and held him to 3/11 and 8 points.  McQuaid with nine off the bench, 0 turnovers, and chased Carsen Edwards.  With the issues, Ward, Jackson, and Langford had, Schilling, Goins, and McQuaid was a HUGE reason we won the game.  Goins with 6 (including a huge jumper late), Schilling 7, and McQuaid 9.
  3. This team still comes and goes as Winston does. It was one of his best offensive games, played a ton of minutes, and had 10 points and ten assists (only three turnovers).  We ran so much offense through him, extraordinarily high ball screen action late and he answered time after time.

Bonus: Half-court defense is the calling card for this team.  To hold that team averaging 80+ to 65 points, zero 3’s in the second half, is the reason they won.  A great effort and attention to detail on the second half.

-3

  1. Jaren Jackson and Nick Ward had 8 points and 7 fouls.  They were mostly a non-factor in the game.  That stat line will cause a loss 90% of the time.  
  2. 33% from 3 and 67% from the free throw line in an offense that chucked a lot of perimeter shots at times.  This offense is the best in transition when there are post touches, and Cash off the ball screen.  Two of those three really wasn’t a factor today. This team must get post offense (from Ward/Bridges/Schilling/Jackson) to be their best in the half-court.
  3. This team still struggles in the first 10 minutes of the game.  It wasn’t as bad today, although the lead did get to 8.  I would attribute some of that due to the frequent subs and odd lineups, but it’s not just that.  We also don’t run quite as good of offense and just seem to miss open looks.  Letting teams hang early is a recipe for an upset in March.

Coaching Corner

* Some Matt Painter errors hurt his team.  They had a foul to give on the last possession and should’ve grabbed Bridges as he dribbled with about 6-7 seconds left to make us take it out on the side.  That’s a BAD error and one you can’t miss.

* I also think they go to Haas too much.  I know that seems nuts when he was 12/22 for 25 points.  But throwing it to him and 4 guys standing is bad for offensive rhythm and movement.  In turn, when guys had to take shots in the 2nd half, they struggled.  I think some of that, at least part, is due to guys not moving/cutting/screening in their regular motion offense and just going into Haas isolations.  They run such good offense and I think they basically did us a favor by not running it very often in the 2nd half.

* I wasn’t happy with the Izzo time-out with 25 seconds left and I’ll tell you why.  The last 2 possessions MSU ran ball screen action with Winston and whomever Haas was guarding.  They got a wide-open Winston 3 and a Goins jumper.  If Izzo doesn’t call the time-out, Winston gets that same look and likely an uncontested game winner.  While the Bridges shot wasn’t the one Izzo wanted, it didn’t end up mattering as it was one of the most clutch shots I can remember in Breslin history.

* As Painter said in the post-game, no one has played them straight up this year without doubling Haas.  Izzo stayed strong in his thought to trade 2’s for 3’s and that strategy was a big reason MSU won the game.  If they play Purdue again, I’d play in the same, but experiment with a post front, a dig down weak, a dig down ball side, just because Haas is so deliberate and doesn’t make quick decisions passing.


Extras

* I would’ve said this win or lose, and I think it was the best-officiated game I’ve seen this season.  The game was physical, and Haas is crazy hard to officiate.  I think they did very well.

* I can’t believe Schilling or someone else didn’t “pull the chair” one time against Haas.  He is leaning on him so hard I think he would fall right over.

* How about that Goins jumper with 49 seconds left?  Wow.

* The last Purdue possession Schilling did a great job pushing him out.  He should’ve kicked it out and re-posted.  Instead, he shot from about 12-14 feet and was short.  Rushed it there.

* I think Purdue is a damn good team.  A little light on depth, but I’m not sure that hurt them a lot tonight.  I think Izzo made a few moves more than Painter and that really mattered.

* Much respect to Gene Keady for making the trip up to honor Jud.  100% class act.

* Vitale was completely out of line with his comments. He better have had the courage to say every one of those words to Izzo during the pregame shootaround.  Also, stop with the “he has to answer the questions” generic trash. Dick, exactly what does he have to answer and what are you accusing him of? Lumped him right in with Nassar, weak effort by Vitale.

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