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340 and Counting: Michigan State 90 Valparaiso 60

[Note: Another disjointed viewing experience: Listened to first half on the radio live (Matt Steigenga's becoming a really good color guy, BTW), watched second half live, went back and watched first half on DVR.]

Michigan State puts together a complete 40 minutes: 18-point halftime lead, stretched to 30 at the final buzzer.  Straight to the player bullets (official box score is here):

  • Chris Allen is playing with as much confidence as he's ever had: 22 points on 10 FG attempts.
  • Delvon Roe is good to go: 10 points, 17 rebounds (7 on offense), 4 blocks.
  • Korie Lucious: 9 assists, giving him 23 for the season vs. just 3 turnovers.  Man, did he drop some dimes today.  Best pure passer of the Tom Izzo era?
  • Raymar Morgan: 9 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks, and most importantly 28 minutes played.  With four more days to get healthy, he should be pretty close to 100% for the Gators on Friday.
  • Kalin Lucas is Kalin Lucas: 15 points on 8 FG attempts, 3 assists, 2 steals.
  • Durrell Summers: 10 points, 1 scary moment.
  • Even when Draymond Green has a quiet game, he stuffs the stat sheet: 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover, 1 block, 1 sheet.  He's the anti-Mark Titus: he tries to fill every column in the box score.
  • We won't hit all of the other 7 guys to play in this game (none in double-digit minutes, as Izzo stayed pretty small throughout the game vs. the undersized Crusaders).  It does look like Tom Izzo is making a conscious effort to give Austin Thornton a chance to earn a spot at the bottom of the playing rotation.  8 minutes and 4 FG attempts (only 1 made) today.  They ran a set play for him off the timeout with a minute left in the first half, but he missed the open 15-footer.
  • This was a 68-possession game, so the offense was more spectacular than the defense--particularly when you consider that the Crusaders hit only 4 of 23 three-point attempts, missing some pretty good looks off bad MSU defensive switches/hedges along the way.  Four factors graph:


    MSU beat Valparaiso handily in all three of the factors besides turnover percentage.  The execution against the Crusader zone was particularly good, resulting in a 2pt FG% of 61.0% and a 3pt FG% of 41.2%.

    And the Spartan TO% of 19.1% was acceptable.  No MSU player turned it over more than twice.  Generally, it's encouraging that a higher percentage of our turnovers seem to be of the trying-to-create-something variety (as opposed to the no-purpose-brain-freeze variety) this season.

    Minor gripe: The defense on in-bounds plays under the basket could use some work.  Valparaiso got easy looks going down the lane several times today.  Does having the defender guarding the in-bounds passer turn his back to try double team cutters really work better than just having him pressure the ball so the passer can't get a good passing angle to a player in the lane?

    Next up: The actual whether-you-win-makes-a-difference-in-who-you-play-next phase of the Legends Classic.  Atlantic City.  The Florida Gators.  Friday at 8:00.  HDNet (check here to figure out if you get it or to find a sports bar that does).