Grumpy Preface: So the $2.99 I invested tonight bought me two hours of almost constantly freezing/restarting video feed. When I sent a message complaining about this to the good folks at bigtennetwork.com, I received a reply indicating--in more jargony words--that this was clearly the result of something I was doing wrong. Given that at least one other TOC reader experienced exactly the same problems, at exactly the same times, I am skeptical.
Anyway, allow me to say this to any BTN executive that may be surfing through: If I--a man trying to watch a video feed on your website using a less-than-six-months-old laptop computer over a medium-grade DSL connection while running no other software applications and not having anyone else in the house access the wireless network at the same time--cannot get a consistent feed, then I think your on-line video endeavor may not turn out to be all that profitable.
More practically: I didn't exactly get a great look at this game, so take everything below with a grain of salt.
Moving on: This was a 71-possession game (box score is here), so the defense was generally better than the offense. That doesn't come as a total surprise, given the state of the roster. Chris Allen, Delvon Roe, and Raymar Morgan all sat out. (The announcers indicated Allen and Roe could have played if this were a real game. As for Morgan, I think we'll do well to get 10-15 minutes out of him for the Gonzaga game.) Durrell Summers, meanwhile, only played 19 minutes, missing a chunk of the game after taking a shot to the eye from a Laker player.
The combination of those things meant that Isaiah Dahlman (23 minutes) and Austin Thornton (19 minutes) got to see a lot of the floor tonight. Neither did a lot to impress, at least offensively, as they combined for just 8 points. Both played solid defense and will be useful options in a pinch (and hopefully not more than a pinch) this season, but lineups like Lucious/Dahlman/Thornton/Green/Herzog are not conducive to scoring points in bunches.
Overall, the defense was solid. The three new big men (including Herzog; we need a nickname for those three to make talking about them as a group less unwieldy) showed their inexperience. Herzog and Sherman both picked up 4 fouls, and all three looked a little lost on switches/hedges at times. (Nix did have a nice steal of a post feed at one point.) Nevertheless, there weren't any major defensive breakdowns, and Grand Valley never really made a game of it, despite the margin staying below 15 for most of the game.
- Grand Valley kept things close on the boards, posting a 28.2 OffReb% vs. MSU's 34.2%. But MSU won the turnover battle, as GVSU turned it over on 28.2% of possessions vs. just 15.5% for MSU.
- The Lakers ran some zone/trapping looks, which didn't seem to phase the MSU players much.
- Draymond Green is your player of the game: 15 points on 10 FG attempts, 11 rebounds, 2 assists (and several other nice passes that didn't result in buckets), 3 turnovers, 3 steals.
- Kalin Lucas played 36 minutes, which is more than you'd like to see in an exhibition game. Forced some shots in the lane, converting only 6 of 18 FG attempts. Needs to get the mid-range game going more quickly than he did last season. 4 assists vs. 1 turnover, perfect on 6 FT attempts.
- Korie Lucious played 28 minutes, so Lucas and Lucious were on the court together a lot. 12 points on 9 FG attempts. Instant offense.
- Derrick Nix was again the most impressive of the big man three-pack (does that work?). 8 points and 3 rebounds in 18 minutes. His points all came early, though, indicating conditioning may still be an issue.
- Tom Herzog is still lacking some physical assertiveness, particularly on offense, but I think he's progressing. Pretty good statistical productivity: 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 12 minutes.
- Garrick Sherman didn't do much tonight: 4 points and 2 rebounds in 13 minutes.
- Durrell Summers struggled to score, making only 2 of 9 FG attempts. Some of that may have been a result of having his eye swollen shut for the second half. 5 rebounds, though; he may need to do some extra work on the boards depending on how long it takes Morgan to be fit for 25+ minutes/game.
- Second straight game the team didn't shoot all that great from beyond the arc: 4-12. That's a mild concern going into the regular season.
- Tom Izzo got teed up in the second half. Not sure exactly why; just caught the technical foul being issued between video feed spasms. The Grand Valley coach had gotten all worked up earlier, so maybe Izzo just didn't want to get outworked on his own court.
Up next: A real-live basketball game! But not so much on a real-live TV network. Florida Gulf Coast (click here to learn more about the Eagles). At home. 7:00, Friday night. Viewable, apparently, on ESPN360. Someone care to fill us in on exactly what that is and how one goes about watching it?