It may just be me, but it seems as though State's defensive tenacity has fallen off pace since the Michigan beating. In the game against Michigan the guys were slapping the floor, and playing with an all-out tenacity that I hadn't seen in seemingly years. I expected, in the game against IU, that the concentration and stellar play on the defensive end would continue...it didn't. Against Indiana and Ohio State, State gave up entirely too many open looks behind the 3-point line, and I'm hoping that someone else has noticed this, and it isn't just me. Given, it was against quality competition, and in the case of the Hoosiers, one of the better deep-ball shooting teams in the country. I hope in the upcoming game against UM, that State can regain form on defense, because Michigan will shoot plenty of 3's, and it could ultimately lead to State's 3rd straight loss.
It's not breaking news that Appling and Dawson have played below their season averages as of late. It's been discussed ad-nauseum as to what the deal is, and that Player X and his mother should get in their grills to snap them out of their lulls. I think they'll return to form in given time, and people can make the comparison that Oladipo plays as many, if not more minutes, but let's face it...Oladipo isn't human, he was manufactured somewhere off the caost of Taiwan for the sole purpose of collegiate domination. Mission: Successful. Long story short, these guys better return to form if State wants to make any kind of run come NCAA Tourney time.
Even though State has lost the last two, and slipped to #9 in the polls, it could have very easily gone the other way. State lead both games at crucial points, you guys know the story. A team like Gonzaga garners the #2 ranking in the country, but taking out the garbage in the West Coast Conference is a little different than battling in the B1G. The Zags signature win at this point would be Oklahoma State, which is a decent win, but can't be the flagship, so to speak, for a #1 Seed in the NCAA Tournament. My point here is that any team not playing in the Big Ten this year would most likely have a few more L's under their belt had they stepped through the gauntlet that is the Big 10 Conference this year.
I'm biased, and usually blinded by optimism, but I think that State will close conference play with 2 wins and a Big 10 Tourney win, which ultimately grants them more Top 25 wins, and the #1 seed in the Midwest Region. It could also be that I have tickets for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 in Indy this year, and this is the only logical scenario I get to see them play.
This is a FanPost, written by a member of the TOC community. It does not represent the official positions of The Only Colors, Inc.--largely because we have no official positions.
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