Posted at 8:00am -- 3/7/2010
Big Game for Michigan - Bigger Game for Michigan State
Tomorrow marks the end of the Big Ten regular season. The seeding is pretty well set for the tournament and so the game is merely an academic after thought, right? Probably wrong, for many reasons. Foremost is Tom Izzo’s obvious need to get the Spartans in tournament mode. Secondly, the game does pit Michigan State against Michigan and add in the bitter pill of a Wolverine loss in a home game that could have easily been won for a little memory jar for the players.
The game is much more important for Michigan State. A win by Michigan prevents the odds-on favorite from getting a piece of the conference title, now secured by Purdue and Ohio State. Michigan State has urgency, spurred by Izzo lighting up the team in the press earlier this week. He expects effort and much better play from the home standing Spartans, who have been a little fortunate as of late. Michigan is playing for a good memory and a last hurrah (do not expect much hurrah in the tournament).
The Spartans will come out intense, but will that translate to offensive success? Michigan must get off to a good start and take the game into the late stages. The final result of a game like this is very unpredictable, anywhere from a close Michigan upset to a massive Spartan blowout of the Blue.
How then can Michigan make the game a forty-minute affair?
First, the guys better get ready to play a smart but rough game, there will be no care packages sent Michigan’s way from the crowd or the game officials. Michigan better have an attitude on the boards, size disadvantage or not. The scholarly, meek approach of letting rebounding take care of itself will not serve well tomorrow.
Second, get the ball inside and feed Michigan’s hottest player, DeShawn Sims. If the Spartans collapse big, kick the ball out, Michigan is very capable of hitting wide-open three pointers.
Third, understand that the rules allow for shots inside the three-point line. Taking 30 to 40 three pointers is a high-risk/low reward venture, especially in the second half when the legs get tired and the focus wanes. In the same vain, do not end the game early by taking several unsuccessful shots while already behind.
Fourth wake up, the Spartan transition game is still dangerous enough to spoil chances of winning by catching sleeping teams off guard for easy points.
Fifth, two star players are allowed to have a great game on the same day, one of the dynamic duo getting the job done will not be enough.
Last, Michigan needs to go into this game loose but intense, no fear and no brain lock-ups. Morris has helped with cutting down the team turnovers recently. If he can create off the dribble more in the future, Michigan has a good one. Sooner or later, his outside shot will come back.
Written by Doc4blu
Go Blue -- Wear Maize!