Miles Bridges – Miles kept Michigan State in this game in the first half, when it looked like MSU had a personal vendetta against holding on to the ball. He was his usual self, finishing near the rim and grabbing 11 boards but his first half effort was the most important effort of the game in terms of setting MSU up for success in the second half. Also, side note on Miles: I don’t pay for cable so the majority of these games I watch on a WatchESPN account on a few minute delay. As a result, I’ll get texts like “OMG MILES” and “WOW, MILES” and from my less optimistic friends “Shame Miles will never see a NCAA tournament game”, so when I get those texts I sit on the edge of my seat and wait for something amazing to happen. In person, I didn’t have to worry about that. Watching Miles play live is like watching something who is so personally offended by the very thought of the existence of gravity that he chooses to ignore it. It’s getting to the point where I’m beginning to expect amazing things from him every time any team is in transition, and it’s a great feeling to have. As a self-proclaimed Chobani yogurt expert, I compare Miles performance to a blueberry Chobani yogurt. It’s great at first but begins to lose its’ luster after the first few bites although it still remains relatively solid.
Joshua Langford – In my game preview I stated that the best case scenario against this lackluster Iowa defense would be that Langford and McQuaid hit some shots and get some confidence back, essentially using this game as a springboard to better basketball at just the right time of the season. More on McQuaid later, but Langford came through with probably his best game of the season. He was active, posted a solid stat line (11, 5 and 3), and hit keys shots in the second half of the game to blow our lead open. Hopefully this type of game becomes the norm for Langford, instead of the outlier. Following his breakout performance, Joshua earns the rating of Black Cherry Chobani. You wouldn’t expect it, but it’s the best flavor. It’s the most important yogurt flavor and covers a variety of bases in terms of health and flavor.
Kenny Goins – Kenny continues to look overmatched on the court, even though he’s playing largely out of position. This is more evident on defense than anywhere else, as he’s almost constantly guarding bigger and taller players. On offense, he needs that 12 foot jump shot to fall to get defenders out of the paint and stretch the defense a little bit, and against Iowa he was 1 – 3 from the field with his one make being a slashing and 1 that came out of nowhere. I would also like to call attention to his 10 boards, which is even more impressive considering Nick Ward’s foul trouble. Izzo, who I will submit knows more about basketball than me, was very effusive in his praise for MSU’s rebounding, and some of that starts with the toughness of Kenny Goins. Kenny earns the rating of Passion Fruit yogurt, probably not the best flavor, definitely one you wouldn’t pick on purpose, but the passion and fire advance the total team dynamic.
Matt McQuaid – Well, all things considered I think this could be a positive game for Matt, and here’s why. Even though he had 6 points on 1 – 7 from 3, clearly something has clicked that he needs to be shooting and it looks like he’s more and more willing to take the necessary shots. Look, McQuaid isn’t going to go 1 – 7 again from three again, he’s too good of a shooter. I’d rather him get the misses out of his system in a game we win by double digits than when we need them down the stretch against Wisconsin, Purdue, and in a rematch vs. Kentucky in the Final Four. Matt gets the rating of Pineapple Chobani Yogurt against Iowa, not the best, not even close, but there’s potential there and it could be a solid player in the future.
Cassius Winston – I initially walked away from this game thinking Cassius played relatively poorly, but reconsidered after looking at the final box scores. Cassius is still a freshman, and it looked like he struggled a little bit when Iowa extended their defense, but only had two turnovers. Most importantly, Cassius didn’t let the turnovers phase him, hitting back to back three pointers in the second half (#Ca$$ius) to put MSU’s lead to 6. In addition to Cassius’ 12 points were his 5 assists, the majority of which had to come on the press break. Cassius game today reminded me of the blackberry yogurt, I initially walked away thinking he looked overwhelmed and unimpressive, but then I revisited with an open mind and completely did a 180. Originally I gagged at the thought of blackberry yogurt, but it ended up being pretty tasty and a solid contributor to the Chobani brand.
Eron Harris – I’m still waiting for the breakout game from Eron Harris. This game started with a missed three from Eron and ended with a poor stat line, especially for him. It looked like he struggled greatly with the press, turning the ball over at an alarming rate and in uncharacteristic ways such as letting a pass slip through his fingers, or stepping on the out of bounds line while dribbling. There’s no two ways around it, MSU needs a guard to step up going into this key stretch of home games in order to acquire a signature win, and my best bet is still Eron. But following the game against Iowa, Eron compares closely to the water on top of the yogurt, there is no reason for it to be there and it really waters down the whole team performance.
Nick Ward – Efficiency was the name of the game for Nick Ward, with Izzo holding true to his ‘you’re sitting in the first half with two fouls’ rule, Ward only played 16 minutes. In his 16 minutes however, he was ruthlessly efficient from the floor (5 for 6), and from the free throw line (4 for 4), a great sign for MSU going forward. Granted, a lot of these points came on baseline dunks set up by MSU breaking a late Iowa press, but this is still a step forward in the right direction. Nick was the Chobani Raspberry yogurt, a very solid yogurt flavor that, while not all that flashy, can hold its’ own day in and day out. That being said, Nick, that haircut man…
Victory for MSU