Once again, a Spartan game probably has left most of you with more questions than answers. Let's try to get them answered together.
- How much was the offense to blame?
About 95%. Purdue posted an offensive efficiency of about 103; if you had told me that before the game started I'd have said MSU would have a better than average chance of winning that game. Instead MSU made a third of their field goals, including an ignominious 1-11 from three. In a word - CLANK.
- So what was wrong with the offense?
This may sound simplistic but sometimes a brick truly is a brick - missed/blocked shots. The offensive execution before the shot wasn't great. The ball screens and movement were enough to create open shots, and on the few occasions MSU did get offensive rebounds (OReb% of 26.3% - low, but not enough to explain a 20 point loss) they could not convert. Seven points off 10 offensive rebounds isn't good. Lastly, it seemed as if the Spartans were a bit tentative in the paint. Dan Dakich made a point a couple times during the telecast that Green and Roe were falling forward on lay-ups, and I think a drive directly at the basket would've at least drawn a foul.
As for the three-point shooting, I can't remember any shots that were bad decisions. Most of the threes appeared to be open, and some days they don't fall. Hell, I think MSU should've taken more three-pointers when the second-half descent began, a team's not going to come back from 15 down on twos most days.
- Was anyone else good besides Lucas?
Lucas has fully morphed into a scorer, he's more of a two than one at this point. He had an average day efficiency-wise (23 points on 20 FGA) but was not a detriment to MSU today. Mike Kebler also played quite well, knocking down open shots when the opportunity arose. I don't think Draymond Green played bad per se, but it was frustrating to see all his point-blank shots bounce off the rim. I wish Durrell Summers would take more shots. Delvon needs to slam the ball one of these days. I like simple sentences. That is all.
- So what does MSU need to do to get off the bubble?
Win the next two games. 10-8 in the Big Ten will put them in the NCAAs even with a 0-1 showing in the Big Ten Tournament.
- Fine, what does 1-1 in the next two games give them?
Heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, you name it. The Spartans will most likely need a Big Ten tournament win to feel confident of a NCAA tournament trip, and depending on how the regular season ends they'll have a Thursday game against Iowa or Indiana or a Friday game against Illinois, Penn State or possibly Michigan to get that victory. In this situation they'll need two Big Ten tourney wins to feel like a lock. One win and they'll probably be safe, but could be playing in the first four.
- And 0-2?
I don't want to think about it. Nothing short of a run like Minnesota made last season will put MSU into the NCAAs in this case.
- So what's the most likely of these situations?
Probably 1-1. Despite how many points Iowa beat MSU by this season I think there's no way the Spartans lose on senior night at the Breslin. That sets up a battle against Michigan which the Wolverines will need much more than MSU. I have no other explanation for why MSU will win this game except I feel like a complete homer at this point and think the Spartans end the season strong. Everything tangible points to 1-1 during this stretch, but I think the Spartans win out.
- But can the Spartans come back after such a complete loss?
They've done it once this season, there's no reason why they can't do it again.
- What will Kalin, Durrell and Mike kiss during Senior Night?
The Spartan head. Just because the logo's different doesn't mean the tradition's dead.
- What should we do in the meantime?
Prayer helps. And drinking. It's a combination that makes trappist monks so awesome.