Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. After Kalin Lucas' 15-footer and Deshawn Sims' HOLY CRAP THANK GOD HE MISSED THAT tip, the Wolverines have had a rough ride. Sure, they beat Iowa and Minnesota twice, but they also lost to Penn State (ewww), Wisconsin, Ohio State, Illinois and just Northwestern (trademark BHGP) in that stretch. I don't need to tell you what State has as stake here - win, and they're co-Big Ten Champions with Ohio State and
probably Purdue. Lose, and not only will Michigan State lose out on the Big Ten title, Michigan fans will be smarmy, intolerable and petulant on their way to the CBI. Basically, they'll be everything they claim MSU fans to be.
Breakdown of the five things MSU needs to do to win after the jump.
5. Guard DeShawn Sims at all times.
DeShawn Sims has a case of Battleitis - that is, he's a a mediocre to average three point shooter (29.7% through his career), but he seems to catch fire in the last game. While he was 0-6 in the 2008 and 2009 MSU games, he was 3-5 in the first game this season. I've got a bad feeling he's going to catch fire again, so Raymar, Delvon, and Draymond, get a hand up in his face and keep it there.
4. Keep Raymar Morgan hot.
After taking his yearly mid-February break, Raymar's come on again in the last four games, having either double-digit points or rebounds in each of them. Besides Sims, Michigan doesn't have interior depth, and if he could go 8-9 from the field and score 20 points again like the last Michigan game, that'd be just fantastic.
3. Limit Turnovers
Yeah, it didn't take much brain power to come up with that point, and even though MSU turned it over copiously in the last match-up (30% of the Spartans' possessions ended in turnovers), I feel like that if I reiterate it enough, the TO% might drop below 20% for this game.
2. Have a repeat performance of the help defense at Purdue.
Unless Sims is in the game, Michigan most likely won't have success inside. That means they'll probably pass around the perimeter for 34 seconds before chucking a three (don't laugh - this is exactly how Penn State beat the Spartans last year). They'll milk the shot clock for every second on it, and focus must be maintained. Which brings me to point #1...
1. Maintain focus for 40 minutes.
Some have been saying that this team lacks toughness. I don't necessarily think that's the case, as evidenced by the wins at Minnesota and Michigan. However, it has been maddening at times to see the Spartans drop focus, allow lay-ups, and wander offensively. If they can avoid a first-half swoon, this won't be a contest.
Above all, it's senior day. Congratulations to Raymar Morgan, Isaiah Dahlman, Jon Crandell, and possibly Tom Herzog (no word on if he'll stay for a fifth year) for giving the fans four good years. I can't think of a better climax to the regular season by playing Michigan with the Big Ten title at stake.
This one's for everything. GO GREEN!