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Recapping an eventful (and frustrating) MSU weekend

Keith Appling’s foul with a little more than five minutes left proved to be Michigan State’s eventual undoing. However, Sunday’s 75-70 loss to Indiana should go down as one of the more entertaining Spartan basketball games in years.

The pace and level of play for both teams was at a season high. To me, it may have been MSU’s most watchable and best-played performance since the 2009 Final Four semifinal win over Connecticut. It appeared clear that both the Spartans and Hoosiers are deserving of the talk of reaching that level this season.

I got into a back-and-forth with a reader on Twitter about whether Appling should have picked up his fifth foul or let Victor Oladipo go in for an uncontested dunk. He said you can’t allow an easy basket. I contend it was a dumb play, and one that I think eventually cost MSU the game.

There’s zero question that MSU’s point guard, newly appointed captain and late-game leader needed to be on the court for the final minutes. He’s proven time and again this season that he becomes the Spartans’ go-to producer in crunch time (Kansas, Boise State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Ohio State come to mind in a flash). Can’t do that from the bench.

While in theory the reader’s point about a potential dunk swaying crowd momentum is true, a foul at that point in the game can’t come from a player with four already. It resulted in about a 6- to 8-point swing in the game. And it also left Adreian Payne out to dry on the final play, forced to take the ball from well outside the lane and drive to the basket, getting called for a charging foul that sealed the win for the Hoosiers.

That instead should have been Appling going to the basket. Instead, he relegated himself to spectator status and perhaps cost the Spartans a chance to jump into the top five of this week’s polls that come out later today.

On the women’s side, Suzy Merchant can’t be too happy today for letting a second straight game this week slip away.

Sunday at home, the Spartans lost 67-62 in overtime to Purdue. Her Spartans launched 82 shots – yes, that number is correct – and connected on just over 30 percent of them. Many of those misses came around the basket as Jasmine Hines, Klarissa Bell and Jasmine Thomas combined to 8 of 36 shooting.

MSU still had a chance to win, though, thanks in large part to committing just six turnovers while forcing the Boilermakers into 21. But Purdue’s inside presence proved too much, outscoring the Spartans 36-22 and outrebounding them 45-43.

And in hockey, MSU’s struggles continued in a weekend split with Division I newcomer Penn State. The high from Friday’s 5-2 victory and offensive breakout quickly dissipated with Saturday’s 3-2 loss and defensive meltdown.

Two games with Michigan are on the horizon for MSU, Friday in Ann Arbor and Saturday in Detroit. With 10 games left in the regular season, it’s looking like neither the Spartans nor the Wolverines are going to make the NCAA Tournament. They’ll likely need to win the final CCHA Tournament to get the league’s automatic berth – no easy task for two teams buried at the bottom of the league standings.

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7 Responses to Recapping an eventful (and frustrating) MSU weekend

  1. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Except for the hockey loss Sat. night, not sure how frustrating the events of the weekend were. Sundays loss @IU was inside the spread as in IU didn’t cover it and quite frankly in the fall I thought this would be a 20+ point loss. Coach Izzo is working his magic, the players are buying in to not taking plays off, and the team is gelling. To answer the liar/cheater from TMZ ( brucie pearl) yea, we learned loads about MSU Sun. and they are right in the thick of the race for the B1G Tittle. Paris has a similar 4 game stretch beginning next month, let’s see it they come out of it 3-1.

    The woman lost to a higher ranked team, unfortunately at Breslin, where they wanted to steal one.

    Unlike the beauty pageant that is college football, in basketball, they play the games.

    FYI, folks, Cheese-it is now plagiarizing fan emails and not actually going to the away games. I’d think that would be classified as fraud, but then I’m not one to cut folks slack when it comes to things like being a liar.

  2. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    IMHO this team is a sweet 16 team right now. But it has final four potential and Tom Izzo has six weeks to complete the process. I am far less qualified than you folks but I see 3 things as crucial for this team to be a final four team.

    Keith Appling has to win games consistently in the clutch the way Kalin Lucas did, he has to win games like Sundays game in the tourney at crunch time.

    2. Gary Harris needs to hit AJGranger three daggers consistently, we cant rely on Payne to do so every big game.

    3. Lock down defense particularly on the help side needs to occur.

    I think the chances are 50-50 that this improvement will occur, I like those odds. I just wont criticize the team if it stays at the present level but I hope for more.

  3. avatar NJ Rob says:

    This team is definitely starting to improve, and Sunday was a solid game, but I completely agree with Izzo…what matters the most is what we do tomorrow/Monday…

    I think Appling is playing great and is a top B1G PG, but as I look forward, I think our season’s outcome will depend on whether he can knock down a few more jump shots (including ~2 3s) each game.

    Payne is playing like a beast. Heck a line-up with Nix, Payne, Dawson, Harris and Appling…can beat anybody when they’re playing well together. I always look at Izzo’s reaction when Payne shoots the 3…he seems to have the green light.

  4. avatar Mr. Cresote. says:

    This Hockey Team is pathetic. If any one from the coach’s to the players to the AD office is reading this, to give up 50 (!) shots against a team that just became D1 and lost to a D2 school earlier in the week, You all need to seriously consider what you want to do. Either start producing, or look for other employment or transfer to another school.
    Signed; Disgusted in Michigan.

  5. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Spartans Men’s now #10 in Coaches poll who at least have been in the arena as a coach, and stayed at 13 by the people who have never played a minute of DI ball. Stupid. Media has Paris Hilton as number 1 while again the folks who actually know something about basketball have Kansas.

    • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

      actually we are # 9 in the coaches poll, media darling paris at # 1, geez kansas would take them to the woodshed, coaches got it right once again.

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