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Wrapping up MSU-UConn: Appling vs. Trice; Payne’s sincerity toward Chapman; and a matchup misjudged

NEW YORK — Keith Appling became a polarizing figure for Michigan State fans late in this basketball season.

That continues today, as emails, tweets and comments continue to mostly center around the Spartans’ senior point guard, who was a limited offensive player the last two months, Sunday’s season-ending regional final loss to Connecticut included.

What happened to Appling — however much of it psychological or physical — was a shame for him. It looked like he was headed for a brilliant senior year, and wound up being largely the reason MSU felt short.

Two thoughts on this:

- No one should question how much Appling cared. No one cared more. No one feels worse than him. He didn’t let you down, frustrating as it may be. That’s not how this works.

- Travis Trice wasn’t the better option at point guard Sunday. He struggled to bring the ball up against UConn’s three-quarter-court pressure from guards Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier. This is one of those things that separates point guards — the ability to create space and keep a dribble in front of pressure. It’s something Appling does well. Even this Appling. Sunday’s Appling gave MSU a better shot at offense than Sunday’s Trice. And it’s something Trice has to work on in the offseason.

Tender moment between Payne, Chapman:

There was a moment at the end of Sunday’s game that showed the genuine friendship between MSU seniors Adreian Payne and Dan Chapman — one a future NBA power forward, the other a former walk-on, playing his final game.

With less than a second remaining, and the Spartans headed for a crushing defeat, Chapman banked in a 3-pointer. Payne instinctually ran over to Chapman, smiled and hugged him.

“The past four years, AP and I developed a pretty good friendship,” Chapman said. “And I think that kind of summed it up right there. Even in the darkest of moments, you’ve still got your friend coming over there congratulating you on something that should make you feel better than it did, obviously given the scenario. It definitely meant a lot to me.”

A whiff on analyzing MSU’s matchup with Connecticut:

Beforehand, Connecticut seemed like the ideal Elite Eight opponent for MSU — an inexperienced coach, a team that preferred a quick pace, MSU’s preferred pace, and one without much bulk on the interior.

It turned out not to be so simple.

UConn second-year head coach Kevin Ollie put together a terrific game plan, giving Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson no room to work in the post. It’s what he said he wanted to do — make it uncomfortable for them early.

What I didn’t realize is that his wiry and quick interior players were a worthy answer for MSU’s interior duo. They were athletic enough to double-team without leaving obvious holes and able to recover when Payne pump-faked and drove.

Just as impressively, they kept Dawson off the glass. No one had done that during the previous six games, or most of the season for that matter. When it had happened, it was usually a no-show performance from Dawson. Sunday, Dawson made the effort.

Lastly, the low score wasn’t indicative of the frenzied urgency or ball-pressure, which UConn handled better for much of the game. The Huskies are a great story, a program emerging from NCAA sanctions, with loyal senior guards unwilling to be done. That shouldn’t be underestimated. Neither should Ollie, or the pieces he has at his disposal.

That said, MSU could have won this game, and changed the narrative. Turnovers in bunches did the Spartans in. The loss is as much on them as UConn. That’ll make it harder to stomach and more lasting.

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66 Responses to Wrapping up MSU-UConn: Appling vs. Trice; Payne’s sincerity toward Chapman; and a matchup misjudged

  1. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Next Monday night, I am going to be watching the MSU National Championship game from April 3, 2000. They can never take that away from me, and they can never take away the other 5 final Fours. If Tom Izzo still has 6 final fours ten years from now you will never hear me say a word against him in year 29. He has already done a lifetime of work and the hay is in the barn. He has earned a lifetime pass in my book and he should have that pass in Mark Hollis book as well that’s just how I feel about it. At the end of the season all of us can choose to vote with our home entertainment system, and plug in a Spartan Championship. There are 11 other schools in the Big who cannot do that with their current coach.

    Go Green

    • avatar Mike Appleseed says:

      OR, that’s called living in the past. “The hay is in the barn”, another OLD saying.

      It is what it is. An Elite 8 appearance is nothing to be ashamed of. Everything seems to be measured in, “How many Final Fours and Nat’l Championships”. That’s a ridiculous measuring stick. Izzo has done great, and did it again this season. Enjoy it, don’t be disappointed because it wasn’t what everyone said it was going to be prior, during, or at the end of the season.

      Don’t forget, Jack Nicklaus won 18 majors., AND finished second in 19 majors.

      • avatar Spartan 81 says:

        Just stating I’ve been through the wars and was fortunate enough to be at two Rose Bowls and two National Championships , plus tackled Earvin in the backfield in Pop Warner football. Have been lucky enough to get my bucket list satisfied.

    • avatar jerseyjohn says:

      i agree and this is the same way i felt about jud. with me, you win one and you’re in for life. i don’t care how good or bad your players were. i also can see us going this far or further with the current team and unheralded recruits we are getting. there will be no pressure on them. i also felt this way about rick comley but he was railroaded out of town and we are now stuck with anastos.

  2. avatar Mike says:

    I hope everyone understands how much Keith Appling cares and meant to this team the last 4 years. DO NOT BLAME him!!!! This is a team game and unfortunately our team did not have its best game. It was not because of not caring or lack of effort. The NCAA is one and done and we ran into a team that played a better game. GO GREEN!

    • avatar GoGreen says:

      Agreed. I’d have liked to have seen Appling get his mental demons of self-doubt under control to deliver us a glorious victory, but this wasn’t his fault. Ultimately, when a piece of your team falls, others have to step up. That didn’t happen.

      I think I might have to disagree that they ran into a better team, though. This is just as much if not more a loss by MSU than a win by UConn. This wasn’t fated to happen, and it’s not as if we got blown out. We lead during parts of this game, once by a fairly comfortable margin even for this level of play.

      I don’t want us to get into some “oh, it is what it is/everyone played a great game” excuse, because that would be a bold-faced lie. Maybe during the first half when good shots weren’t falling you could chalk it up to that kind of excuse. But, we lost this game at the end; it was a classic choke. It should hurt, and we should learn. But, there should be no hard feelings in the end.

      • avatar Hiroshi says:

        I believe that, as a senior starting point guard, Appling should take at least 1/3 of responsibility for the loss. For his sake, he should accept and should face for his future.

        Unless he change his “thinking”, he will have a little chance of success for most of the “things” rest of his life.

        It should start to face it and to taking a responsibility. I really hope he can just for his own sake.

        • avatar dmbtierney says:

          When you criticize, you leave yourself open for criticism.

          Hiroshi, unless you learn to “communicate” and express yourself in a grammatically correct manner, you will find yourself making excuses for the rest of your life.

  3. avatar GoGreen says:

    This:

    “That said, MSU could have won this game, and changed the narrative. Turnovers in bunches did the Spartans in. The loss is as much on them as UConn. That’ll make it harder to stomach and more lasting.”

    Sums it up perfectly. I said it last night. This was the most dejected I’ve felt in a very long time. This season has been one of the worst roller coaster rides, one that came off the rails at the end.

    What I do take some comfort in reading the Freep and News, this morning, is how the losses by MSU and Michigan were covered. For Michigan, this is seen as a successful season; they seem to really be content with their season save for Jordan Morgan, who should be thankful his team made it to a championship game in his time here after years of a horrible program.

    We are inconsolable…and you know what? That’s just the way it should be, and I’m glad we are where we are this morning than Michigan celebrating over a good run in the Elite Eight. I like that more is expected of us. When we lose, it hurts even more…but when we win, the victory is just that much sweeter.

    And, mark my words, we’re going to win another championship with Tom Izzo so long as he doesn’t look at it as if it’s his White Whale. I hope this season has taught him to center himself, better. His over-exuberance used to be endearing and quirky and showed he cared. Now, it’s edging and veering on being self-destructive, however. That man better find his inner Buddha, and quickly. Someone wrote a piece in one of the Detroit dailies about how it was good that the team had to calm him down in the Harvard game. I thought that critique totally missed the mark. A team should definitely get vocal and motivate one another when things are falling apart…a team shouldn’t have to worry about reigning in a coach in the middle of a close game. That’s not the responsibility of some 18-year-olds.

    • avatar J says:

      GoGreen I understand what you’re saying but I think it’s a bit misguided. Sure MSU’s program is one of the class of college basketball and though UM has built a very strong program it still doesn’t have the longevity to equal that of MSU despite the success Belein has had against MSU of late. UM isn’t just happy to get to the Elite 8, they had bigger goals, as does every good program. However because they lost two great players to the NBA, and a potential lottery pick to an injury, it was tough sledding fro the onset. One of their goals was to win the Big Ten title which they did. The difference is the expectations for this MSU team were basically title or bust. Payne and Harris came back on a mission to win a title, and the senior class didn’t to be the first to go without a final four. They basically brought back their entire team from last yr.

  4. avatar Mike Wynne says:

    Appling’s injury just shows that in the beginning of the season, he had worked himself to his peak of fitness, precision and skill. Appling had to have access to every skill he honed. The injury simply changed everything. I hope he gets healthy and get his shot at the NBA. My only disappointment is for HIM, and that his misfortune diminished his game, and was likely the reason there is no Final Four and National Championship for MSU. But that’s life. It happens often- think Robbie Hummel and Kenyon Martin. Its just a shame.

  5. avatar J says:

    So did media just overrate the spartans? It seemed like a sound majority of columnists, analysts and commentators and even the president all picked MSU to win it all and they were the overwhelming favorite. They were called the most talented team when healthy. I agree that they are a very talented team but I never saw what everyone else was seeing (look at Kentucky for one). This team went through a ton of injuries, but they lost convincingly to UNC at home when they were healthy. Lost to Illinois at home when healthy. They didn’t perform up to their ability yesterday, but turnovers have been a problem for them and they didn’t have anywhere to go offensively for stretches which has also been a problem so it’s not as if this is just a fluke. First class to leave w/out a final four.

    • avatar Gar says:

      Everyone seems to not recognize that this game was played on basically UCONNs home court and the ‘fan effect’ on MSU. Especially, the officiating — and don’t be a GD ostrich and stick you head in the sand. It exists !!! Just look at how AP & Dawson were literally mugged when he tried to get on the blocks. Then the ticky tack fouls called on the Spartan guards. If the Spartans reciprocated there is NO doubt they’d fouled out. This was HOMER and officiated as such and it should have been a neutral site. Don’t let the officials and NCAA off. Even after all that the Sparties lost by basically 2 points when Appling was called.

  6. avatar JB says:

    Very rare does Izzo get out coached in the NCAA tourney, especially by a novice HC. But it was apparent Sunday. Appling has struggled for weeks. Playing 4 on 5 vs. a good defensive team is a recipe for defeat eventually. I’m guessing the wrist, despite statements to the contrary, is still not healed. Even a couple of missed jumpers would have kept uconn defenders honest. Valentine should have been bringing the ball up court. Trice not strong enough against stout on ball defenders. Very few Izzo adjustments. Uconn smart enough to drive and collect foul shots. Sparty settled for jump shots. And why foul a guy taking a fadeaway 3 with under a minute? No valid reason. Let Shabazz beat you, don’t beat yourself. But Sparty couldn’t resist..

  7. avatar GoBlue says:

    Re: GoGreen

    MSU fans are inconsolable because the team played a horrible game and made a ton of mistakes down the stretch. UM is celebrating because the team looked great all year even without an All-American, plus went down fighting in a classic game. It has nothing to do with Elite 8 expectations.

    • avatar Jim says:

      hehehehe….you Wolverines are consistent: consistently arrogant.

      Just remember: even thought you think you “looked great all year” and played without your supposed All American (same lame excuse used all year) you still lost AND didn’t make it any farther than we did.

      It doesn’t matter how you “went down fighting”, YOU STILL LOST.

    • avatar GoBlow says:

      So, let me get this straight: after Michigan LOST yesterday, they were dancing in the streets in Ann Arbor because “the team looked great all year even without an All-American, plus went down fighting in a classic game”…….

      I think all of the U of M fans who were rooting for MSU to lose got a huge dose of KARMA. Spin it any way you like, but you still lost.

      • avatar MSU Owns Hoke says:

        And THAT’s just another example of how far MSU and Mich still are: MSU fans and players are disappointed, scUM Fans and players celebrating in the streets, what a bunch of goofs.

  8. avatar Drink heavy says:

    Just a bad day 4 basketball in Michigan………..Go Wisconsin win it all!!

  9. avatar Don F says:

    “That said, MSU could have won this game, and changed the narrative. Turnovers in bunches did the Spartans in. The loss is as much on them as UConn. That’ll make it harder to stomach and more lasting.”

    Whatever makes you guys sleep at night, I guess. Uconn had a much better backcourt than MSU and you didn’t have ANYone that could stop Napier. Payne wanted to shoot 3′s and for some reason nobody on MSU realized that Harris was your best player playing terrific. So Uconn beat MSU, are you guys really that shocked? Uconn beat MSU in 2012 also. Uconn was the better team this year so please stop making excuses like “MSU lost it, Uconn didn’t win it” because it makes everyone look like a bunch of complainers. There was a reason for all those turnovers, Ollie out-coached Izzo (and Izzo is a great coach), Napier ate up all the MSU guards, Daniels played tough defense, nobody passed Harris the ball, etc….

    Reading these comments, it makes me wonder if you folks have a realistic view on the talent level playing at MSU. Uconn is a more talented team top to bottom so let’s be a little more “real” with the comments. Quite simply, MSU got beat by a better team last night.

    • avatar jkdfw says:

      DonF–how do you explain the Vegas line(MSU a 5 1/2 pt favorite) that UCONN was the superior team. Even the MSG home court is factored into the line. Your astute knowledge is definitely needed in Vegas. Bon Voyage………

      • avatar Don F says:

        called a sucker’s bet… the line if you must know is to balance both sides of the wager and not who is the better team. So more yahoo’s like yourself listen to all the MSU gushing and wager on MSU to win. Doesn’t mean MSU is better it just means more people were wagering on MSU. Don’t get me wrong MSU played well but had no answer for Uconn’s guards. You can blame the refs, blame the crowd or whatever complaints you come up with but you get beat by a better team. Bon voyage indeed.

  10. avatar Big Jon G says:

    That was as dejected as I felt after an MSU loss. In any sport at any time. It was hard to swallow because we were so bad offensively. And we still could have won.

    I will always remember Appling fondly but the offensive turnaround (in the negative) was the opposite of the offensive turaround (in the positive) of Connor Cook this year. I know it was about the injury but it seemed each year as if Appling would get into this shooting rut that was mostly mental. Whether the wrist was bothering him or it was all confidence seems to be up for debate but the team that was National Championship caliber needed its point guard to bail them out at times – just like he had done in some games during his career. What a shame but Appling is a true Spartan.

    I find it hard to believe that MSU though couldn’t get more penetration in the lane. Couldn’t get it to Dawson on the block more. Yes UConn was double and triple teaming Payne in the post and like that critical turnover with just under 2 minutes to play, he needed to move it quickly. Payne just isn’t the passer out of the post that Nix was but boy did he improve in four years. Another true Spartan.

    Some of the turnovers though were just mind boggling. It seemed as if this team was either very good or very bad and it shifted within games. As the season progressed the turnover issue became worse. The UConn and Illinois games were the absolute worst. I was at the Illinois home loss and they seriously didn’t look like a team that could win another game.

    Appling, Trice, Valentine (besides his two triples), Costello, Dawson were all non-existent on offense yesterday. And to be honest I think the coaching staff did a poor job of not reacting to the UConn pressure. Izzo, and he is great don’t get me wrong, was flat-out outcoached yesterday. I didn’t see any second half adjustments on offense. The players didn’t perform but I haven’t seen one thing today in the media questioning the coaching staff’s inability to make adjustments. And here’s a dirty little secret about MSU – when they fall behind to a team with similar talent – it’s often hard to come back because Izzo never presses (until he has to) and the team doesn’t give any other defensive looks designed to force turnovers. You know why Tennessee came back on U-M? Because it knows how to play full court pressure when it has to.

    I am disappointed in the loss and am left unfulfilled by the season. But still, 29 wins, a Big Ten tourney title, an Elite 8 appearance was not a failure. Injuries were an issue. But for a few years I have thought that Coach Izzo needs to make a few adjustments in his schemes to compete with the top teams in today’s NCAA. Yesterday proved that. We had no answers.

  11. avatar jerseyjohn says:

    i knew we were in trouble when i saw the ref HUGGING UCONN’S COACH before the game. i have never seen a ref hugging a coach. that being said, i turned to a frankie avalon movie when it was 11-2. i briefly tuned in the second half to watch appling let an inbounds pass go out of bounds. at thay point i was finished watching. i see the foul shots were 22-8. so please tell me. were most of their foul shots at the end when we were trying to stop the clock or did we get screwed like izzo’s other elite 8 loss against texas in san antonio?

    • avatar Don F says:

      Most of their foul shots were picked up by slower MSU guards (Appling/Valentine) trying to guard Napier and Uconn was 7-7 in the final 5 minutes with free throw shooting. I would say the biggest stat that changed the game was MSU’s turnovers at 16 because of uconn swarming defense.

      But let’s blame the refs instead… By the way JerseyJohn, did you see when the refs went to Izzo’s side and those interactions? I didn’t think so. Back to Frankie Avalon…

      • avatar jerseyjohn says:

        don’t forget annette funicello. i was just asking a question and you provided the answer. but here is a fact. in izzo’s 2 elite 8 defeats our opponents shot 60 foul shots to our 14.

        • avatar Don F says:

          don’t shoot 29 three’s and expect to get fouls called for you. Drive and attack the basket which did not happen on MSU’s side.

          1999 national title game. Duke had 27 free throws and guess what Uconn had….18. Care for some cheese to go along with your whine?

          • avatar jerseyjohn says:

            UCONN won that game because we beat up duke in the semi-final. now go take a nap with jim calhoun and count on one hand how many of his players graduated.

          • avatar Don F says:

            classic Jersey…. So Uconn should be thanking MSU for it’s win over Duke in 1999? you make me laugh how you feel MSU is the epicenter of college hoops. good one!

          • avatar Waquoit says:

            Duke beat Ohio State in the 1999 semis.

          • avatar Don F says:

            Waquoit, Ever hear of google? works wonders…

        • avatar MSU Owns Hoke says:

          wron wuquoit, MSU lost by 6 to duke, UConn beat OSU, then Uconn upset duke in the final

  12. avatar B1G Slappy says:

    When Daniel Chapman’s scoring output is more than that of Trice & Appling’s COMBINED you won’t win many games, especially in the ‘Dance

  13. avatar ken says:

    Absolutely no game plan from Izzo. Our inside game was non-existant. None of it is Appling’s fault. The bad all falls at Saint Izzo’s feet. The Tom worship is getting real old. A more than mediocre coach would have won with this talent.

    • avatar Jim says:

      Yeah, it was ALL Izzo’s fault that they kept missing shots and making turnovers and leaving players wide open for easy shots. I’m not blaming one player because they all played crappy. The coach can’t be on the court playing the game for the players. A “more than mediocre” coach would have never made it this far in the tournament, and your assessment that it was ALL Izzo’s fault, proves that you have no clue what you’re talking about. It’s easy for somebody sitting at home on their couch to say what should have been done, but if the players aren’t putting the ball through the hoop, then no game plan in the world is going to work.

    • avatar MSUALUM says:

      And you are who? What are you credentials?

    • avatar Big Jon G says:

      I can’t disagree with you ken. Izzo’s teams have been running the same offenses and man to man halfcourt for years. I think he needs to make better in-game adjustments. When our team was tougher and more aggressive this year, we won. When we were kind of tough and pretty aggressive but more talented, we won. When the talent level was nearly equal and we were somewhat or not aggressive and tough, obviously we lost (i.e. NC, U-M twice, Ohio State, UConn). The only game I think we lost where we were clearly much more talented across the board was Illinois and that was an absolute debacle. And Georgetown but we were beat up.

      I really think Izzo needs to look in the mirror and consider change. Run some press, even 3/4 court press now and then. Throw a zone on defense. Change the motion offense and weave. He does a great job of running sets off their motion and that should stay in. They should play man most of the time, but when they are struggling, there is no backup plan. It’s just: “be tougher in halfcourt defense.” Or: “run more sets.”

      That said this team – and last year’s team – was missing that one element. That Mateen Cleaves. That Shabazz Napier. That Russ Smith or Peyton Siva. That one guy that just refused to lose and carried a team. Heck even that Draymond Green. We didn’t have the one go-to guy when we needed a basket – usually a point guard or wing player who could create his own shot. We all thought it was Harris but he never quite turned into that guy. And Appling couldn’t be that guy at the end. Sad way to end. But onward. Still a very good season.

  14. avatar MSUALUM says:

    I am so proud of this team and our coach for the year they have given us. They took us to the Elite Eight! How many schools had that opportunity? We have come to expect it, so sometimes we don’t appreciate it when we should. We have outstanding basketball & football programs & coaches, something that not very many schools have. We need to be supportive of our coach, his players, and quit the second guessing, armchair quarterbacking as NONE of us has the expertise, or we would be in their position instead of on the couch watching our TV’s. These young men work so hard while trying to go to school, working with injuries, away from their families, under pressure, and under constant scrutiny from experts & fans…it is not fair for us to be so critical…we are NOT playing in their place, walking in their shoes, living in their circumstances. Don’t make their lives more difficult by making them question why they even do what they do. I for one congratulate them & thank them for all they did and all they will continue to do. Thanks for a great year!

  15. avatar jerseyjohn says:

    the only problem i have with izzo is his ass-kissing of other coaches. he was blubbering about calhoun all weekend. the fact is, jim calhoun is a scumbag who cheated so bad his team became the first bunch of idiots banned from the tournament for never seeing the inside of a classroom.

    • avatar Big Jon G says:

      Coaches stick together jerseyjohn but yeah Calhoun is a scumbag. So is Cheaterpari. I am rooting for Wiscy this weekend because I have grown to appreciate Bo Ryan. The guy was so happy after they won and was emotional about his dad. And like most B10 programs (perhaps not OSU), he runs a clean program.

    • avatar Don F says:

      Jersey,
      Get over it… Your team lost and you still are making excuses. Calhoun and Izzo are friends and both can coach. You sound miserable and whiny, great character traits.

      But i did get a kick out of why Uconn beat Duke. That was a first!

      • avatar NJ Rob says:

        Different person from Jersey here…no doubt UConn beat Duke in 1999 because of Duke’s tough game against MSU. Go read the text from Coach K’s post-game interview, he said his guys were exhausted after the game, and he was very concerned about getting them rest.

        It’s not a “first”. Many people think it.

        UConn played well. In my own mind, what goes around, comes around. MSU beat UConn in 2009 in Detroit when UConn was the better team…same thing just got flipped on MSU in 2014 in MSG when MSU didn’t take UConn seriously enough. MSU got what it deserved. Too many guys “expected to be in Final Four”. If they approached the UConn game like they did the UVa one, MSU would be headed to Dallas. No doubt MSU wins this match-up decisively in a best of 5 or 7 series, but that’s not college ball.

        I am now rooting for Wisco.

        • avatar Don F says:

          you really think they didn’t take Uconn serious enough? 2 years ago in 2012, Uconn beat MSU so I would think they would have taken them serious.

          As for 1999, I won’t make excuses WHY Uconn won and Duke lost but if I give you an assist for Uconn’s 1999 championship, will that make you feel better? OSU didn’t tire out Uconn that year either. Maybe Duke’s players weren’t in good enough shape. This is serious excuse town up here…

  16. avatar Cozy says:

    I agree with Jon on at least two points, MSU did not make any noticeable adjustments after half time and UCONN did. Also if the Spartans plan on continuing to advance in tourament play, they will have to learn how to break the presses, how to press we they want to disrupt a teams timing and how to score in the paint. The coaches that are coming up now are not afraid to let their players play to their potential aka;( Kentucky), I have always said that if you give Tom Izzo a week to prepare for you, he will find a way to beat you, When he only has less than 48 hours not so good. I sure hope they studied the SMU wins over UCONN, maybe not. I don’t care what you say about UCONN game plan, we help them fulfill it.

    • avatar Waquoit says:

      I think Sparty got caught reading and believeing the press clippings. Once they went up 9 early the 2nd half, they thought UConn was done. When the Huskies came back they had a bit of panic. Those 3-pointers starting coming up short. The ball-handling got sloppier. Napier got to wherever he wanted. The better, tougher tem won.

      • avatar MSU Owns Hoke says:

        nope waquoit, MSU got up 9 and the shots just stopped falling, it happens sometimes, nice that uconn got a home game as a 7 seed too, refs fell right into the trap, dawson and payne getting hacked, and napier’s flop on that 3 was priceless, appling fouls out without committing a foul

  17. avatar Cozy says:

    I agree, if you have guards who cannot create a shot off the dribble, that can be a problem in a game like yesterday. I noticed through out the season that we just were afraid of the paint and drawing fouls early, and no zone ever. I not sure what Coach Izzo’s reasons are for not playing zone from time to time when it can throw another team rhythem off, particularly when they are not hitting their outside shots like UCONN’s first half, I would’ve force them to beat us from out there.

  18. avatar Dave says:

    I agree with the comments that this was probably the most depressing lost since the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals for me. Although the final four streak wasn’t the most important thing in the world, I always felt it validated MSU’s program and the way Izzo runs it, and that all came to an end yesterday.

    That being said, we were awful yesterday. UConn shut down Payne, played off Appling’s lack of confidence, found us looking a little ahead, and consequently put MSU on its heals. MSU was playing tentative, and had no one to create. I do actually think a slashing and driving Appling (which he’d show us once or a twice a game) would’ve made a big difference. But he wasn’t able to regain his confidence, and you didn’t have anyone else step up to vill the void. I’d argue you saw bits and pieces of it in each of the Harvard/Virigina games during the tournament – hestiation on shots, over passing, just no one ready to take control. Part of that is probably due to injuries and chemistry, etc., but there was something missing on this team, especially with this many veterans. Plus, not to make excuses, but I think the Virginia slugfest might’ve worn them down a little bit.

    I also don’t think more Dawson was the answer yesterday. On offense, it seemed like he was getting most of his touches away from the basket, which is not his game. Although it worked in strectches vs. Virginia, I don’t think that type of play from him is sustainable from him.

    Fact is, they couldn’t get an offense going, could get any inside-out ball movement, and they got outplayed. I still think MSU wins that game at least 6 times out of 10, if not 7, but alas, this was not one of those times.

  19. avatar Mary Wadford says:

    I am and always be a true spartan fan. Was a Yooper like tom izzo who attended michigan state and was truly heartbroken with the loss. I knew the great potential of the team and when they all got back healthy had much hope. However, it just wasn’t meant to be. The desire or drive just wasn’t there on Sunday. Everyone looked so tired and lost. However, my heart truly goes to Keith Appling. He was the heart and soul of the team for 3 1/2 years and hated to see him struggle at the end. Was the l

    • avatar Mountain Sparty says:

      MSUALUM, thanks for your comment and understanding. It is so easy to point fingers and blame the coach, the point guard, the defense, etc. Over the past two decade the Spartan basketball team has been a model of strength and character. Coach Izzo and his staff have done a great job of preparing teams (many championships in the B1G and the respect of every other coach for his March preparation) and getting young men to graduate and succeed in life. Final Fours, Elite Eights, successive tournament qualifications. For some folks the only way they will appreciate what Tom Izzo has done for Spartan Basketball is when he retires … and then he will be missed by all in Spartan Nation.

  20. avatar Mary Wadford says:

    I am and always be a true spartan fan. Was a Yooper like tom izzo who attended michigan state and was truly heartbroken with the loss. I knew the great potential of the team and when they all got back healthy had much hope. However, it just wasn’t meant to be. The desire or drive just wasn’t there on Sunday. Everyone looked so tired and lost. However, my heart truly goes to Keith Appling. He was the heart and soul of the team for 3 1/2 years and hated to see him struggle at the end. Was the loss his fault…absolutely not. It was a team loss and we wouldn’t have done as well as we had without Appling. The loss was a tough one for all of spartan nation to take as we all know what could’ve been. This Florida transplant will always be a spartan fan and loved watching every minute if this season, just wish I could’ve watched one more week

  21. avatar slouchy bud responds to Hoke says:

    Hoke did you and your friends like the new commercials during the tourney, have all your friends tell Burger King they want a sequel thanks little brother

    • avatar MSU Owns Hoke says:

      hey little sister, it must suck to be bankrupt, be a failure in both college and the NBA, and have to settle for BK commercials, although I do like their bacon double cheeseburger

  22. avatar Mountain Sparty says:

    “No one should question how much Appling cared. No one cared more. No one feels worse than him. He didn’t let you down” I really bothers me to read how many people seem to think that Keith Appling caused the 2014 problems for the Spartans. Graham, you are point-on for our point guard: Keith cared too much which probably caused him to put enormous pressure on himself. He would have given anything for his team which led him to play in January when he should have been resting his wrist. The season is over, let Keith and AP mourn and move on.

  23. avatar jerseyjohn says:

    here’s a theory. we all know how corrupt NY and NJ are. maybe someone got to appling and he was point shaving. we are 3-11 all time at MSG. i can even remember going to the meadowlands in 1985 and watching skiles team lose to St. Peters! it is well documented that parish hickman was point shaving on that team. now you can all pile up on me, but this is just a theory, not by any means an accusation.

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      I never heard that Parish Hickman stuff , where did you read that?

      • avatar jerseyjohn says:

        when he left MSU he said a lot of rotten things about jud. it was also discovered that he threw a few games.i remember watching the highlights of those games. it blew over after a while and nothing more was made of it. it wasn’t a teamwide thing it was a hickman thing.

        • avatar dmbtierney says:

          Yes, he did leave MSU after being involved in some shady dealings (I don’t remember point shaving). After leaving, he got religion and finished his career at Liberty. Falwell took all sinners for reclamation and a winning basketball team.

    • avatar dmbtierney says:

      jerseyjohn: you are old, senile and out of it. Parish Hickman never played with Scott Skiles, whose last year was 1986. Hickman played from ’89 through ’91. Also, it was Dec. 1, 1983 that we lost at St. Peter’s. I suggest you purchase a media guide each year so you can marginally, get your facts correct.

      • avatar jerseyjohn says:

        you are absolutely right. as a matter of fact, i have an old style beer poster in my garage with the 1983 schedule on it.

  24. avatar jerseyjohn says:

    if anyone doesn’t think some of these games are fixed take note of just the latest example. how do you think baylor made the sweet sixteen? their first two games were in texas! the cheating was so bad that nebraska’s coach got ejected. as soon as they left the state of texas, wisconsin manhandled them. i could go on and on . and the NFL is the worst. that’s why i’ll be surprised if they mess with the PAT’s. it will wreak havoc with the vegas lines.

  25. avatar jerseyjohn says:

    i only listen to bubba the love sponge. i am a frequent caller to the show. they are based in florida. the last call i made i stated that the true national championship of college football this year was the rose bowl since florida state and auburn are actually pro teams who pay their players. you must be a left wing looney tune.

    • avatar dmbtierney says:

      There isn’t far enough left on the scale to bracket me. I was probably one of the few military types who protested his entire four years in the military back in the day when everyone was required to serve or else.

      • avatar jerseyjohn says:

        on a serious note, thank you for your service. my uncle is a producer who has done countless military shows for the history channel. his latest show ran last week on the national geographic network. it was about vietnam and was called brothers in war. it was sickening the way you guys were treated upon returning home.

  26. avatar dmbtierney says:

    The next two to three weeks should be interesting for MSU basketball and the Big Ten in general.

    We’ll find out which players are staying and which ones are leaving. After that is settled, well find out how many new recruits we end up with (anywhere from three to five).

    Then we find out who we play in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. With 14 teams on each side now, this could really get exciting. Plus, with new teams in both conferences, there could be some really new and exciting matchups. How about MSU vs. Notre Dame? That game hasn’t happened forever! Or MSU vs Syracuse or Lousville? Those would be fun too.

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