[Expanding on the MSU section of my previous post.]
1. I just looked at the box score of the MSU-Minnesota game for the first time. You know what? The Mike Kebler thing nearly worked. From the time Kebler entered the game with 9:22 left in the second half through the end of regulation, MSU outscored Minnesota 16-9 over 12-13 possessions. And 4 of those 9 Gopher points came on the first two possessions Kebler was in for, on two offensive put backs by big men. As has been his custom, Kebler played very good defense, helping to force Minnesota into some tough looks down the stretch and allowing Morgan, Lucas, and Green to work their magic on the other end. (A Korie Lucious 3-pointer helped, too.)
I do wonder about not putting in a player who's more of an offensive threat (even Delvon Roe for offensive rebounding) on that final offensive play in regulation, though. I haven't seen the replay, but my sense watching it live was that Kebler's man hedged off him to collapse on the play in the lane with Lucas coming around the screen.
2. Please don't interpret anything I've said as a knock on Mike Kebler. (The photo caption on the last post was too snarky in retrospect.) The fact that Tom Izzo would play Kebler over six different players on the bench who came into the program on scholarship (and weren't wearing a necktie) speaks volumes of what the he's proved about himself in a very short period of time.
It's easy to point out the negatives from Kebler's performance. But I don't blame for him for missing the two free throws. How many shots do you think he's taken in his life with that much adrenaline rushing through his body? (Both misses were too long, as I recall.) And stepping on the out-of-bounds line after grabbing that defensive rebound was a function of how hard he had to work to pull down the rebound in the first place.
The problem with the Michigan State basketball team on Friday night was definitely not Mike Kebler. It was the guys sitting on the bench instead of Kebler.
Alright, on to the Big Dance. Had to get the game recapping compulsion out of the way.
P.S. The other problem was, of course, a bunch of missed free throws. Based on this four-factors graph, you'd sure think the team with the green bars was the winner.
OK, I'm done now. Really.