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Michigan State Basketball: MSU vs Italy Recap

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MSU fell to the Italian National Team 90-69 after an Italian run in the 4th quarter

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

I wouldn't read too much into this at the moment. Still a lot to figure out with the lineup but almost no one's spot is secure. The only 100% sure-fire starter is Valentine.

The Four Factors

Italy pulled away with barrage of 3's after MSU cut it down to 70-65 with about 5 minutes to go. They had a good effort but too many turnovers and lack of attention on defense ultimately did them in.

I'm going to go at this more bullet style:

  • Italy was great from 3 shooting 14-24 (58%) from deep. A good chunk of those were Italian players getting open from a lot of motion they were running, some of those were bad overhelping on MSU's part, and some of those were "we're professionals and we're going to make contested shots".
  • MSU again had issues with turnovers including Valentine getting credited for 7 (!) turnovers. He didn't get a ton of help offensively outside of Forbes but even most of Forbes' points came off of catch-and-shoot opportunities. Valentine needs help and hopefully Eron Harris can fill that void or else it might be a long season for MSU fans.
  • I will say however, that I noticed Deyonta Davis was listed as having 0 turnovers when I specifically remember two post feeds where he couldn't corral it or hold his position that resulted in a turnover. Davis looks like a freshman at this point and while he's a great alley-oop target and good offensive rebounder, I don't know what other area he's greatly going to help the team at early on.
  • Again, free throw discrepancy was an issue but again we should remember that they're playing against grown men. They need to avoid fouling and they need to make their shots when they get to the line (5-11 for the game).
  • I'm not totally sold that Nairn is going to start. It's going to be awful tempting for Izzo to start Valentine-Forbes-Harris in the backcourt and play Valentine as the de facto point guard offensively. I'll probably go into more detail sometime after the third game tomorrow on this topic when I have the time.
  • I was very high on Bess but he's struggled the last couple games with 6 TO's and just 5 points (I'll add the caveat that he's just getting used to playing again. He's averaged about 17.5 minutes in the two games so Izzo likes him a decent amount but it'll be interesting to see what role he takes on this year. 
  • Someone whose minutes Bess might takeaway is Marvin Clark. Clark again played fewer than 10 minutes where he had a missed shot, a turnover, a rebound, and a couple fouls. This game strengthened the idea that while Clark looked to be the favorite to start at power forward, that's more in question now.
  • Matt McQuaid has been a very pleasant surprise so far with an efficient 8 points today and I think he's going to get next year's "not a shooter" title. He drove when the opportunity was there and he had a couple nice passes inside along with 4 FTA's which was the most by any MSU player. It's still very early and he's going to be behind Valentine, Forbes, and Harris at the 2-3 spot but I'm very excited for his future going forward.

Tomorrow's game is against the Georgian National Team where MSU has a much better shot of winning than it did against Russia and Italy.