Izzo looking for more from guards

Adreian Payne is emerging as a dominant force inside.

Branden Dawson is starting to round into the form he displayed in the late stages of his freshman season.

Things are starting to come together for the Michigan State men’s basketball team, which has won five straight since dropping a road contest to Minnesota in its Big Ten opener on Dec. 31.

But as the Spartans enter tonight’s contest at Wisconsin (7 p.m., ESPN), coach Tom Izzo is looking for more from the guards.

“It’s our guards that have got to play a little better,” Izzo said Monday. ‘If they play better this team’s gonna take another step forward which is the next thing we have to do.”

MSU’s backcourt players have struggled some during Big Ten play.

Travis Trice is shooting 31.7 percent from the field in conference play. Freshman Denzel Valentine, who is coming off the bench with Payne now in the starting lineup, has 17 assists and 16 turnovers in Big Ten games.

Freshman Gary Harris has been the Spartans’ leading scorer in Big Ten play at 13.2 points per game but is shooting 28.6 percent from the field (8-for-38)  over the last three games.

Recently named captain Keith Appling is averaging 11.3 points in conference play but is shooting just 33.8 percent from the field and has made just 13.3 percent of his 3-pointers.

“Our two freshmen both talked to me (Sunday) night and they realize they’ve gotta play better. We gotta get more scoring out of them and Keith’s gotta shoot it better and we’ve gotta get Trice more involved,” Izzo said. “Trice looks so thin out there. He’s having trouble keeping on weight. I think he’s wearing down a little bit. He was shooting the ball so well. We’ve just gotta get those guards a little more involved.

“As I said I still like the pieces. I think the frame of the puzzle is getting there but the meat and potatoes of it isn’t there yet.”

Follow Graham Couch for the updates from tonight’s game. Here is his tipoff with all the game information and his prediction. And here’s another story about Appling being counted on in the clutch. There’s also this week’s Big Ten power rankings in a blog entry from earlier today.

Also taking place tonight, the MSU hockey team faces the U.S. National Team Developmental Program U-18 team at Munn at 7 tonight.

Also a few other notes on the recruiting front. MSU 2014 wide receiver commit Drake Harris tweeted this morning that Alabama was at his school and offered him. 2013 MSU linebacker commit Jon Reschke was rated the No. 149 player nationally in the newly updated Rivals 250.

SI.com also has its way too early look at its college football top 25 for 2013. MSU isn’t listed, but here is how they have the Big Ten teams rated.  Ohio State (5), Michigan (12), Northwestern (21), Nebraska (22). Among the things that SI points out is that Urban Meyer won a national title in his second year at Florida and also went 13-0 in his second season at Utah.

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42 Responses to Izzo looking for more from guards

  1. avatar The Tanner says:

    Apps wear “C” baby !!!

    The Draker gone baby !!!

    Darnell step up baby !!!

    The Tanner brings the goods baby !!!

  2. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Paris Hilton loses 72% of their offense and they are ranked?

    • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

      Standard media hype, lose most of their o-line, velcro, and top receiver, still have no run game, surprised they aren’t top 10, dumb media

  3. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Kaptain KA coming of age tonigh

    • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

      HUGE road win ! Gave up too many offensive rebounds or we win by double digits, Appling has really stepped up these last few games !

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        When they review the tape they’ll see that a number of those O rebounds were long right to a Whiskey player. Granted we didn’t box out as well as we could have, but sometimes the tiger does win.

        • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

          Agreed, when you throw up bricks from 3 pt land, a lot of times even when you are position it goes over your head.

  4. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Spartans win by holding Whiskey to 29% from the field. Others will say their 40% FT shooting was more important, but not me.

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      They went the last eight minutes without a bucket that did it

    • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

      yep Wisky shot so poorly, which allowed for so many offensive rebounds, I knew Evans was gonna make that 3 cause he’s only made 1 so far this year, justice prevailed, I’m really starting to like how this team is coming together. Byrd is a liability, the poor kid just can’t keep up, I’d rather have Guana out there.

  5. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Jelly isn’t very good this year – losing to ‘Bama in Basketball

  6. avatar Tru Ghost of Bo says:

    Want to make Byrd a better player?? New Number on the Jersey. Get rid of that damn “0″. a Psychological downer… yer telling him he’s nuthin’ Zero, Zip, Zilch.

    Last nights game. A defensive struggle, like they said on ESPN. “Best free throw defense I’ve seen……”

    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      The guy who said that on TMZ reminds of Dinardo, never won anything but got the COY twice for taking bad teams well beyond their forecast to 3rd in the ACC. Did they ridicule KU/KSU or Bama/Jelly for not breaking 60 either? Probably not.

  7. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    I heard Grahm Couch is ripping off others for his stories again. Every word can be found on Spartan access, folks, every word and the video. as for the “This, after earlier telling me …” stuff was given/taken BEFORE he stabbed Coach Izzo and Nix in the back. Cracker is a pretender and a plagiarist.

  8. avatar mysondave says:

    It seems each game someone different has their all time career game. Nix, Payne, Dawson, Appling, Harris, Trice or Valentine. This is really good for the future development of this team. Great chemistry and “the fight” may have provided the additional spark. Just a little more consistency and the Spartans have a legit chance of a deep run in March. P.S. I feel that Izzo may be doing Byrd more harm by continuing to play him at this stage in his slump. It is clear that mentally he is not playing in the same game as the rest of his teammates. If this continues his time as a Spartan may be jeopardy. Let him go during complete blowouts to get his confidence back. IMHO. Go Green.

    • avatar Tru Ghost of Bo says:

      Good point about playing Byrd. It’s a tough question, what to do with him.
      Everybody you hear from says he “shoots the lights out” in practice. You get the idea the young man feels like he’s schlep rock and nothing good is going to happen.. Maybe just changing his “number” might just be the little something that changes everything.

  9. avatar Spartydoobydoo says:

    Who’s policing the police?


  10. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Interesting what the idiot geeks over at btn had to say. They give Whiskey more credit than they deserve and the Spartans no credit whatsoever. Who’d a thunk that? I just luv it when people who played ball in grammar school type with such conviction that they are right and the rest of the world is wrong. (sounds like Cracker, or his new alter ego Cinncinatitude)

  11. avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

    Hey Marine, I saw you posted on btn, I post under Doug on that site, I see you didn’t really agree with my post, can I ask why?

  12. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Duke is geting hammered by the U (51-25), Duckie V must be crying and whining like a nursery school child who missed the milk and cookies.

    • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

      at least when MSU lost at Miami it was a close game, this is hilarious, of course now Paris will move to # 1 unless they choke against Purdue or at Illinois, which could happen

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        I think KU might be a better choice. They didn’t lose to the Acorns who we beat and we beat the KU.

        • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

          yep but we all know how the media is on scUM and KU did just have a very good road win at KSU last night

        • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

          MSU’s wins over KU and WIS and even at home vs OSU is more impressive than anything scUM has done. Sure they won at Minny, and we would have if we made our free throws. MSU sure has been solid in the free throw dept. since that game though.

    • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

      #1 Duke gets pounded @ #25 Miami 90-63 (and it wasn’t that close) HAHAHAHHAHAH

      #9 Butler loses at unranked LaSalle 54-53

      MSU wins at IU, top ten for us next week, not that it really matters.

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        And if any watched ISU lose to TxTech, they saw why Coach wasn’t sad to see KL depart. Can you say matador D to the rim by his man all night long?

  13. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Let’s get out the vote for Coach Izzo and his Charity


    The Acorn recruiter – who like Gotfried at NCState can’t coach – is leading the way and IU coach – who like Izzo can coach – is in 2nd. Acorn/IU fan bases more rabid than the Spartans?

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