CORAL CABLES, Fla. — The early season injuries to Gary Harris and Travis Trice undoubtedly changed Michigan State’s men’s basketball team.
Even with Harris and Trice back for Wednesday’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge loss at Miami, it was easy to understand the Spartans’ struggles. Chemistry and conditioning had been lost, even if only temporarily.
Above is a short video analysis of what happened from me and Gannett / Detroit Free Press beat writer Joe Rexrode.
There are several issues, as I addressed in Thursday’s Lansing State Journal column. Most of them have to do with the growing understanding that Adreian Payne at power forward isn’t working. Not often enough, at least. Payne is such a ferociously talented player, he should never feel like “the problem” on MSU’s team, as he said he was Wednesday night. If he is, then he’s not in the right position.
Beyond figuring out MSU’s lineup and getting Branden Dawson to produce more offensive rebounds than turnovers, is another seemingly forgotten topic.
MSU has completely abandoned its touted uptempo style, especially the promised pressure defense, that coach Tom Izzo insisted was coming just a few weeks ago.
The Spartans should get a pass for Wednesday. Trice and Harris aren’t in ideal shape and it was a roadie against a fairly talented crew at the end of a stretch of five games in 11 days.
But if MSU is going with a smaller lineup, as it appears it’s about to, it should consider unleashing its defense — and become more worried about creating turnovers than making them.