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Dry Run: Michigan State 88, Saginaw Valley 44

Box score is here.  I thought the team looked as fluid as you could reasonably expect given the injury situation and limited practice time to date.  MSU turned it over 12 times in 70 possessions for an acceptable 17.1% turnover percentage and shot the ball very efficiently (.568/.474/.792).  On defense, there were some glitches with rotations, but for the most part the team avoided leaving Saginaw Valley shooters wide open, forcing the Cardinals to shoot 5-26 from 3-point range.

Beyond that, exhibition game stats probably have about as much predictive power as preseason baseball stats (very little), so we'll go straight to player bullets:

  • Kalin Lucas clearly has a ways to go in terms of getting back to a 100% explosiveness level, but he didn't show any fear out there, diving for a loose ball and drawing a charge.  As recently asserted by Tom Izzo, his jumpshot looks a little smoother; he came out and knocked down a bunch of open jumpers early in the game.
  • Durrell Summers was less than efficient (2-7 from the field), but he'll be fine.
  • Austin Thornton played the most minutes (25) of any MSU player.  He pulled down 7 rebounds and shot the ball with confidence (3-5).  He still looks tentative handling the ball to me, but this was a good start in terms of trying to earn a regular spot in the playing rotation.
  • Draymond Green can shoot the three; he knocked down 2 of 3 attempts.  Other than that, standard Day Day line: 12 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 turnover, 3 steals.  Limited minutes at the 3 spot based on the box score, although I wasn't paying really close attention to lineup combinations.
  • Delvon Roe played 23 minutes.  He's only played that many minutes in 18 of 75 career regular season games, so that's a good sign in and of itself.
  • Keith Appling came close to making my pregame prediction come true, scoring 12 points--one fewer than Kalin Lucas's game-high 13.  (Green and Summers also had 12.)  He looked a little shaky with the ball early, but recovered to score some very nice baskets pulling up in the lane.  He's clearly got a scorer's mentality, but he also had a very nice pass in the lane to Derrick Nix--hopefully, the first of many to his old high school teammate as a Spartan.
  • Mike Kebler basically got all the non-Lucas minutes at the point--22 to be exact.  Same deal as last year: competent ball-handling and solid defense.  And he dunked, with ease, on a breakaway.  Only took one shot from the field.
  • Adreian Payne can do some things--blocking shots (3) and knocking down 3-pointers (1-2) among them.  He was a little tentative on defensive rotations; that should come with more practice time.
  • Derrick Nix was very aggressive in the post, perhaps a little too aggressive.  If he's going to be a regular offensive option, he's going to need to learn how to anticipate and pass out of double teams.  Still, he's a game changer inside: 9 points on 3-5 free throw shooting (we'll take it!) plus 2 assists.
  • Alex Gauna can set a pick.  And he can shoot the ball (6 points on 4-4 FT shooting).  That's potentially a very useful combination.
  • Anthony Ianni made the most of this 4 minutes, scoring a bucket and blocking a shot.

Next Monday's game should be a little more interesting, in terms of seeing how the team looks with another week of practice under its belt and two additional contributors likely on the court.  Monday night at 7:00 vs. the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks.