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Michigan State Basketball: Michigan State 94 - Northern Michigan 53 Kneejerk Reactions

Quick thoughts on how the basketball team's first exhibition game went

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

MSU struggled with Northern Michigan in the first half leading by just 5 at halftime. However, in the second half MSU blew it open early due to Denzel Valentine's playmaking and Bryn Forbes knocking down 3's. Some bullet points on some things I noticed.

  • Forbes is as good of a shooter as you'll see in college basketball this year. On catch-and-shoot situation, he's about as automatic as they come when he has his feet set. Right now, there's a very good reason he's the starting shooting guard over Eron Harris because he's such a great compliment to Valentine's playmaking and terrific ability to find Forbes when he's open.
  • Speaking of Harris, he wasn't as "electric" as I thought he'd be. He was obviously quick and played with confidence but it didn't amount to anything tonight. He missed all four of his 3 point attempts and I'm sure there were at least two that Izzo probably wasn't happy about him taking. We still have more to evaluate on him but right now Harris is going to used more as a 6th man rather than as the starter.
  • With a triple-double in an exhibition game, Valentine played like a first-team All-B1G player should. His confidence in both his passing ability and his shooting is at an all-time high. He only shot 6-13 overall and 2-7 from distance but he dominated the game with his ability to create shots and he had a great 10 assists to just 2 turnovers.
  • Matt McQuaid has a really solid feel for the game and had 3 assists early when he was put at point guard on the second unit. He didn't really show how good of a shooter he is yet but he was run off the line and he felt comfortable enough to drive at least a little.
  • Deyonta Davis is someone I'm really excited about now. I was low on him going into the season just because most big men struggle, but he looked great. He finished with 4 blocks (also one that potentially stopped an And-1 after the whistle) and 12 points that came within the flow of the offense rather than being forced.
  • Gavin Schilling had 4 fouls in his first 5 minutes or so before settling in and playing pretty well in the middle of the second half. The biggest edge he has over the other big men is his athleticism and size allowing him to crash the offensive glass and finish around the rim. His touch around the basket still isn't great but it's been improving ever since he came in as a freshman with stone hands.
  • Schilling and Matt Costello started the second half together. While it's only an exhibition it'll be interesting to see whether or not they spend much time on the floor (I kind of doubt it).
  • Javon Bess was a very nice suprise tonight including down a 3. In total he scored 11 point and grabbed 9 rebounds (4 Orebs) and got to the FT line 5 times (he made 4). One of his best stats last year was his 91.3 FTRate but his issue with that was his inability to knock down FTs when he got to the line. His aggressiveness of going to the rim is great for this team with a ton of jump shooters and it'll be a huge plus if he can continue to knock down FTs.
  • Costello (basically) attempted a 3. His foot was on the line but for all intents and purposes it was a 3. Something to watch for.