Hello TOC, well that last game sucked, but MSU is still tied for first and has arguably the easiest three game stretch of the season up next. This stretch starts off with a Northwestern team that has won 4 of their last 6 but lost their most recent game to Nebraska. As usual stats are next followed by the usual analysis.
Northwestern has narrowed down their rotation to 8 players, 4 guards and 4 post players. They are almost completely inept offensively, with almost all of their offensive stats in the 300s. Their one saving grace is their defense which has rapidly gelled into a very good squad which keeps their putrid offense in games. The only lineup change since the beginning of the season is the benching of Sobolewski who has not played real minutes in a month. I would be surprised if he saw the floor unless it is a blowout.
Starting with the backcourt, the focal point of this team is Crawford, Senior, who does almost everything for this Northwestern team. He is the number one option on offense, he is the best rebounder on the team, and he is 3rd in assists, 2nd in blocks, rarely fouls and doesn’t turn the ball over. He also plays around 35 minutes a game. A few negatives to his game are that he is not an extremely efficient shooter and he only shoots around 33% from three. The next player to watch is Cobb, Senior, who is essentially Robin to Crawford’s Batman. For almost every stat Crawford is just a little bit better, except for assists, where Cobb leads the main players. Cobb’s stats are still respectable but he is even less efficient on offense and is another 33% three point shooter. Finally we have Lumpkin, Freshman, who we do not have to worry about scoring considering he only scores around 4 points per 30 minutes. He is 1b in terms of rebounds and is the leader in o rebounds. He is also the best at stealing the ball even though Northwestern doesn’t try for steals on defense. He does have an occasional problem with fouls, and is the worst on the team with turnovers although he is not much worse than the other starters.
The Frontcourt is led by Olah, Sophomore, who is basically the rim protector for Northwestern. He is a center who gets most his points inside, although he has been working on a three point shot, where he is shooting 25%. He is not a very good rebounder considering he is being outrebounded by a teammate 7 inches shorter. The final starter is Abrahamson, Sophomore, who possesses the highest efficiency numbers for the starters, but he is a poor rebounder, and has poor stats in everything else except fouls and turnovers.
The first player off the bench is Demps, Sophomore, who is the shortest player in the main rotation at 6-2. He plays the combo guard role off the bench, but when he is in due to his size he is essentially the point guard in the offense. He is also a not very efficient shooter, but he does shoot 36% from. He is by far the worst rebounder on the team, as well as blocks and steals. He does not foul or turn the ball over, and unless Demps in on the court I don’t see Trice being able to play considering all the other guards have at least 6 inches on him. Next off the bench is Cerina, Senior, who has very high field goal efficiency, would still only score less than 4 points per 30 minutes. He is a mediocre rebounder, and averages over 5 fouls per 30 minutes. Finally we have Taphorn, who will actually shoot, and would average around 8 points a game, but as with the others he has poor rebounding numbers and looks average in everything else.
All in all this game should be another easy bounce back win for MSU, considering how offensively impaired Northwestern is. Unless MSU goes ice cold from the field and Gary continues to be unable to hit the broad side of a barn I feel this should be a 10+ point win for the good guys. The interesting thing to watch will be how much play Trice receives when Demps is not on the court considering he would be giving up at least 6 inches to all the other players on Northwestern. I think Denzel will have to be on his game tomorrow, and will probably have to run the offense for much longer than he is used to. As I said though this should be a nice bounce back win For MSU to start the easiest three game stretch of our schedule. Go Green!