MSU starters vs. Russian Senior National Team: Bryn Forbes, Tum Tum Nairn Jr., Denzel Valentine, Marvin Clark Jr., Matt Costello— Spartan Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) August 28, 2015
The Four Factors
MSU vs Russia Four Factors. MSU at 0.96 PPP, Russia at 1.19 PPP pic.twitter.com/Nz4h7m5Z1W— Matt Mc (@basketballfan66) August 28, 2015
Final Stats: Russian Senior National Team 93 - Michigan State 75 pic.twitter.com/U8yn8A9jWb— Spartan Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) August 28, 2015
As expected, the Spartans got beat and it wasn't overly close. One area where they need to improve as a team that they struggled with last year is avoid fouling and getting to the free throw line. Eron Harris, while not overly great at it at West Virginia, will likely be better in that area than Valentine and Forbes due to his better athleticism. Another issue is they (expectedly due to so many new pieces) turned the ball over a good amount at >20% TO rate. It make a lot more sense if Valentine and Tum Tum had a lot but they only had 2 combined (along with 10 assists) while the trio of Javon Bess, Matt Costello, and Bryn Forbes had 3 each.
The defense was an issue as Russia shot 69% on 2-pointers and gave up a FTR of 49.1%. One concern is that Clark started the game but only logged 6 minutes. I'm not sure why that was whether it's injury, bad defense, or getting pulled for taking bad shots. Regardless it's probably not a great sign when the guy expected to be the starting power forward early on can't play more than 6 minutes against high level competition. Another issue is that outside of Valentine who went 5-11 from deep, the rest of the team shot just 3-14.
A good sign was that Valentine and Tum Tum combined for 10 assists and just 2 turnovers. Also, Schilling had a very nice game with 17 points on just 8-11 shooting (1-2 from the line) and it'll be interesting on how the rotation ends up at center with Costello, Schilling, and Davis (with Davis playing some 4 as well). Valentine also scored a solid 21 without too much help from the other perimeter players.
All in all this was expected to be a loss and it would've been a pretty big upset if MSU had pulled it out. Next up is Georgia who the Spartans play tomorrow after already beating them in the NCAA Tourna-- wait... I'm being told it's Georgia the country which I know next to nothing about. EDIT: It's Italy because I didn't fact-check, Georgia is on Sunday. They'll probably have a rough time with Italy just like they did with Russia. They should have a much better shot tomorrow and we'll try to get a recap with more information on that. Follow Jim Gibson (@JimGibson7) on twitter to have some live updates along with @MSU_Basketball and Kevin Pauga (@Kevin Pauga).