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As room for error decreases, so does Spartans’ rotation

SPOKANE, Wash. — The roles played by Kenny Kaminski and Matt Costello were still important in Saturday’s 80-73 NCAA tournament win over Harvard, but Michigan State’s season of depth is turning into a tournament of mostly six guys.

Of MSU’s 200 minutes, all but 23 were played by the starters and Travis Trice.

Kaminski played nine minutes, hit two important first-half 3s, as MSU built its lead and set the tone. Costello was solid in seven minutes — three points, two rebounds, a block and a steal.

The matchup didn’t favor either them — especially Costello. Harvard has small but quick bigs. He’ll play more probably against bigger rosters.

But Tom Izzo, its clear, is going to ride his horses, win or lose with his guns, these rare pieces he so looked forward to coaching at the beginning of this season.

And because it’s a versatile top six, barring foul trouble, he only has to turn to the depth MSU spent a season developing and living on out of necessity when that role is needed. Kaminski, for his shooting, and Costello ability to competently spell Payne, are likely to be on the floor for stretches next week, and perhaps the week after.

That could be about it.

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19 Responses to As room for error decreases, so does Spartans’ rotation

  1. avatar Phillip Winston says:

    Coach Izzo mush bench Keith Appling. He has become an offensive and defensive liability. Teams are collapsing on the offense with him at the point. His defense is so poor as seen with Harvard, and regular season games with UM. Izzo is too loyal to players at times. Going forth, he must put Appling on the bench to win.

  2. avatar Phillip Winston says:

    Graham, why you not accepting comments? It is a great question to whether Appling should be on the bench. You know Izzo’s response to the question. “He is tough kid, and gotten us to this point.” Coach Izzo should look at the film to see him as liability and not an asset.

    • avatar Graham Couch says:

      Hey Phillip. I have to approve comments that come from IP addresses that haven’t been previously approved. I’m traveling today, in the air now, so I haven’t been able to do so. … I actually thought Appling played pretty well facilitating offense and, in the first half, setting the pace.

      • avatar 3M_Rocker says:

        Graham, Appling went from a guy could put up 20 and play shut down D to a barely serviceable distributor. No writer seems to notice this, only talking about the other players. His wrist seem ok, but is it? What is wrong with him? Why doesn’t he penetrate the paint anymore? I love Apps, but it seems he has psychologically checked out. He’s so good when he plays aggressively, so what will motivate him to attack? I feel, if he plays aggressively, we could win out. If he stays in his turtle shell, and still gets 30 minutes, we’re doomed.

  3. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    moral defeat
    term introduced in a Bill Simmons mailbag to describe a situation in which a vastly superior team or group completely underperforms, sinks to the level of their inferior opponent, and barely emerges victorious.
    When New England needed overtime to beat the lowly Detroit Lions, Bill Belichick considered this to be a moral defeat and promptly arse–raped his offensive line.
    Graham,

    Was this a moral victory for Harvard or a moral defeat for our Spartans?

  4. avatar Phillip Winston says:

    Time to bench Keith Appling. He become an offensive and defensive liability. Teams are collapsing on our offense when he is at the point. His defense is poor as seen with Harvard, and regular season games with UM. Coach Izzo is too loyal to his players at times. It has cost them in the past.

  5. avatar SteveL says:

    Need a stronger killer instinct when game is in hand. These lapses after controlling the game is disturbing going forward. Hope coaching staff has some answers to this vexing situation.

  6. avatar Phillip Winston says:

    Graham, thanks for the update. Exactly the point, Harvard collapsed the defense in the 2nd Half. Appling had 2 assists, 3 turnovers for the game. It is an important issue. Coach Izzo must adjust as the other teams are going to do on MSU. Appling is not driving to the hoop or shooting the ball. His defense has been awful. He is not moving well against faster guards.

  7. avatar jerseyjohn says:

    i am very worried about going to the garden in new york. i think our all time record there is 2-13. i remember going to an NIT game and steigenga’s bunch lost to St. Louis. the place will be all UCONN fans. i would also like to thank ESPN for showing the whole penn state womens game today and not one minute of the spartans here on the east coast. i hate ESPN and that annoying maggie lucas. and the refs completely took care of PSU on their home court. despicable!

  8. avatar Phillip Winston says:

    Valetine 6 assists, 1 turnover and Trice 2 assists, 0 turnovers. Hustling and playing much better than Appling. Both can shoot and drive!

  9. avatar Big Jon G says:

    Phillip Winston you don’t understand the game of basketball. The only thing Appling isn’t doing well now – or even trying – is shooting. And I agree he needs to knock down some shots for MSU to win a national title. But his ability to run the offense, penetrate in the lane, and play good perimeter defense is tremendous. I really don’t think you have been watching the games closely. Yet you are right about one thing – he needs to score some for them to win it all. He cannot and will not be benched though. Give me a break.

    • avatar 3M_Rocker says:

      He’s not penetrating nearly as much as he used to. Honestly, we don’t really need him to score. We need him to penetrate the lane and collapse the defense, opening shots for everybody. He needs to be more aggressive, but just seems to be going through the motions.

  10. avatar Phillip Winston says:

    I do not understand the game of basketball, my observations last night were correct, MSU was not moving well on defense against Harvard. What happened in the 2nd Half? Chambers drove on Appling at will. Who had 4 fouls because he was getting blown by? Your point on perimeter defense, go watch the UM games and see Stauskas shoot over Appling at any time. What would Napier do to him?

  11. avatar reality check says:

    The only one around here who doesn’t understand the game of basketball is that idiot Hoke

  12. avatar GoGren says:

    That was inevitably an ugly win, but you know what speaks volumes about what the team has become as of late? Even when Harvard rallied – even when they took the two-point lead – not once, not even once, was I worried we’d lost. A few months ago, I’d have probably worried about a collapse. Not now.

    Some things need to be cleaned up, but what also needs to be mentioned isn’t so much that the Spartans collapsed, but that Harvard stepped its game up to another level in the second half…and still lost to the better team. THAT’S how talented the Spartans are. From here on out, things may get harder…sometimes, they get easier depending on who you get down the line. But, the Spartans needs to keep playing like they’ve been playing and making very minor changes in tying up loose ends.

    Nothing about the Harvard game speaks to any massive, structural changes.

  13. avatar Phillip Winston says:

    Better teams will take advantage of the defense played by MSU. Got move and rotate much better this upcoming weekend. A reminder of this past weekend: Delaware 78 Pts and 39 FTs, and Harvard 73 Pts and 30 FTs.

  14. avatar Big Jon G says:

    My question for you Phillip Winston is: who is better at guarding people than Appling? Trice? Byrd? Please. Harris is but he doesn’t play point guard. But did you watch any other games this weekend? Other teams were driving the lane too and getting foul calls. Practically every game – or at least every game with guards who can penetrate. The way they officials call games now rewards that. Appling is still better than any other 1 we have defensively and it is not close.

    As far as driving the lane, something was going right in the first half. Does Appling not get the credit for how the offense was moving the ball in the first half against Harvard? They got any shot they wanted the entire half. Harvard made adjustments in the second half by switching defenses and switching up front while also packing more in the lane. But we didn’t make many adjustments and when the inside to Payne and Dawson wasn’t available we reverted to being a jump shooting team. Appling – and others, including the coaches – must take the blame for that.

    My point is benching Appling is not the answer. Yes he has to play better. But Trice is not a 38-min per game player. Unless you want Ellis out there and he needs more experience, plus he would foul out in about 10 minutes.

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