Preview: Michigan State Spartans vs. IPFW Mastodons

Your MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS vs.
THE INDIANA UNIVERSITY-PURDUE UNIVERSITY FORT WAYNE [Pauses to take a breath] MASTODONS

THE BRESLIN CENTER, EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN
NOON (ET), SATURDAY
TV: BIG TEN NETWORK

Mastodon bullets:

  • 2008-09: Overall record of 13-17; 8-10 in Summit League play; KenPom ranking of #222.
  • Lost to MSU 70-59 last season in a game played in Fort Wayne; IPFW led game with less than 11 minutes to go.
  • Returned 4 of 5 starters from last seson.
  • Record of 3-5 to date this season.  Lost road games against Wisconsin by 29 and Gonzaga by 35.
  • Leading scorer is 6'6" senior forward Deilvez Yearby: 16.0 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.  The leading-scorer status is mostly a function of taking a lot of shots, though; Yearby is only shooting .462 on 2-pointers and .526 from the line.
  • 6'0 junior guard Ben Botts is averaging 12.0 points per game on .500 three-point shooting (22-44).  Botts is a career .445 shooter from beyond the arc.
  • Dane Fife is a dad!

IPFW's tempo-free profile doesn't have all that much to recommend it.  They rank 231st in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency and 301st in adjusted defensive efficiency.

On offense, the Mastodons don't turn the ball over at an excessive rate (19.8%) and they shoot the 3-pointer pretty well (.360; down from .408, which was 3rd in the country, last season).  But, constent with their lack of size (308th in the country in effective height), they don't score efficiently on 2-pointers, get to the free throw line very often, or crash the glass on offense.

Defensively, IPFW has actually rebounded the ball very well for an undersized team (different skills!); opponents have procured only 26.2% of available offensive rebounds.  But opponents have also run their offenses without disruption (Def TO%=17.7%) and shot the ball well both insdie the arc (55.1%) and beyond it (37.7%.)

Barring a The-Citadel-like 3-point shooting barrage from the Mastodons, this is a team MSU should handle easily.  KenPom predicts a 93-61 MSU win in 71 possessions.

One small wrinkle in the plan to dispatch IPFW with ease, getting tuned up of Texas game next Tuesday night in the process, is that Delvon Roe took a shot to the jaw (from Derrick Nix) in practice yesterday.  He expects to play Saturday, but we may see more of the two freshmen up front than usual.

And, on the topic of big men off the bench, apparently Tom Izzo still hasn't give up on Tom Herzog:

"If a pro scout came in and watched him do an individual workout, they would say: ‘Wow!’ He dribbles the ball well, he shoots the ball well, he’s athletic as the day is long, he can do a lot of things. I don’t think he’s crumbling in games as much. He needs more time."

So we'll see how that plays out.

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