MSU basketball is off to a nice start to 2015, aren't they? This was clearly a tale of two halves, as MSU went into halftime down 39-28, and then rallied to outscore Iowa by 25 points(!) in the second half behind 12-17 three-point shooting. This was fun, and I think we're back down to DEFCON 4 in terms of making the tournament.
Just for the record, here's my definition of the DEFCON system for MSU's season (suggestions for modifications encouraged):
DEFCON 5: Safely in the tournament.
DEFCON 4: Bubble talk beginning. The avoidance of bad losses is paramount. With a reasonable (.500ish) record against respectable competition, MSU should be in the tournament.
DEFCON 3: Bubble talk escalating. Multiple strong wins needed.
DEFCON 2: Without a strong push (5-0 or 4-1) over the next 5 games, MSU will likely be eliminated from being selected for the tournament.
DEFCON 1: The next loss by MSU will eliminate them from selection for the tournament.
Anyways, onto some game notes:
The Offense was good early, faded late in the first half, and then came back scorching in the second. Some of that has to do with the defense clamping down and creating some opportunities for transition buckets. In some cases, it was just the right mix of guys on the court. I remember a Nairn-Trice-Ellis-Dawson-Wollenman lineup out there at one point late in the first half, and that mix didn't do so well. But mostly, Travis Trice went absolutely berserk.
Tom Izzo not taking a timeout in the first half until the last minute was an interesting tactic. It seemed to work, but it was just strange to let the Iowa lead build the way it did. As with most things, winning makes you look smart. Izzo often looks smart.
The Refs were just generally bad all game, both ways. They were inconsistent, calling touch fouls at some times and not at others. The foul disparity was 7; MSU committed 21 fouls to Iowa's 14. That's not so bad, compared to the perception of this game from many MSU fans. Iowa attempted twice as many free throws, sure, but that's more of a statement about the perimeter orientation of the Spartan offense as compared to Iowa. I'm not sure that driving for 5 hours from Minneapolis to Iowa City was the right pre-game activity for the famed third ref, either.
Javon Bess Watch is at full mast, with Bess not not turning the ball over in 69 minutes of play so far in his career. He very quietly had 3 assists, a block, a steal, and a timely offensive board in 14 minutes of action. Even more quiet was Marvin Clark, who played just 2 minutes. It seems that the rotation is beginning to tighten for Izzo, and Marvin Clark might be the odd man out.
Your Moments of Zen: