The Four Factors
After leading 5-4 early on, MSU went on a 16-0 run to lead 21-4 and never looked back. The Spartans were up 46-19 at halftime and nearly repeated that effort after the break. Valentine may be on triple-double watch every night from here on out and he has a pretty good chance of leading the Big Ten in assists this year. Take some of this performance with a grain of salt because Arkansas Pine-Bluff might be the worst MSU plays all year, but they dominated a bad team like they're supposed to. Some bullets to get some thoughts down.
- Bess was a bright spot and he really has a knack for knowing how to put the ball in the basket when he's around the rim. I keep using the word crafty
because I have a limited vocabularybecause it's not particularly athletic or skillful but he just knows what to do. However, he might start having some competition for playing time at the 4 because...
- Marvin Clark is back!! He played a few minutes tonight scoring a basket and getting a couple of offensive rebounds even though he wasn't expected to play. This is definitely a good sign going forward as he's a bit more healthy than we expected.
- Eron Harris played well overall and used his quickness to get into the lane and draw fouls (shot just 4 FT's but drew more fouls than that). He made his first 3 as an official Spartan and that's something to look forward to as he starts to gain confidence playing with this team.
- Matt McQuaid continues to impress as he scored 8 points on 3-5 shooting with 3 assists and no turnovers. I said at one point on twitter that MSU's best lineup includes Valentine, Forbes, and Costello. Right now Matt McQuaid is making a strong case to be a part of that with his threat of a shooter and ability to make the right pass at the right time. Speaking of passes...
- Valentine seems to easily be a top 3 passer in the country. His control of the game is a sight to see with the way he knows where everyone on the floor is and makes the right play depending on what the defense gives him. He shot poorly going just 1-7 from 3 but I expect him to get back to where he's been.
- Matt Costello played another excellent game (named the KenPom MVP) with a nice hook early. He had a big size advantage so lobs to him were easier than normal, but it's good to see him getting confidence in his post game.
- Nairn did about as well as you'd expect against a zone. His inability to drive or shoot against it limits his effectiveness and all he can really do is swing it from the top of the key.