Michigan St Spartans
Head Coach: Tom Izzo
Location: East Lansing, MI
Line: Michigan St by 8.5
Typical Rotation Depth: 10+
KenPom rank: 52
This was an informative session, as they tend to be after you come off a big loss. Hoiberg talked about putting in a simple set to provide structure to feeding the ball to guys. Who are we trying to set up? Hoiberg talks about feeding the ball into the paint for posting up and specifically mentions Teddy and Dalano. He also mentions that when setting the offense there isn't organization at some points. Have to wonder if McGowens shifts more into more of a ball handler. Fred was worn out from not sleeping, fell asleep at 9:45 on New Years Eve. The team spent the day before New Years working out their frustrations during practice. On the first they were 'sore and ornery' and they were taking the day a little easier to be fresh for the game. Hoiberg talked about Michigan St also being in a slump and that they had a similar problem before 'getting right' and winning out the rest of the year. Not sure if HCFH know that the get right game for the Spartans was a 20 point thumping at the PBA
Players to watch: Rocket Watts
Replacing Cassius Winston is no small task and combo guard Rocket Watts is struggling in a sense to do so. He's certainly distributing the ball like everyone else on an Izzo team but he's taking the majority of the shots when he's on the court and not hitting. For a team like Nebraska that has struggled defending dominant PGs, making Watts try to beat you seems like a good strategy.
Players to watch: Joey Hauser
Had to sit out a year after transferring from Marquette but the sophomore center is today's big man, capable of posting up in the paint and shooting at a high percentage from 3 while having a nose from rebounding.
Michigan St might have a similar problem to Nebraska in terms of not quite having a traditional take-charge PG. Rocket Watts is more of a combo guard and nobody is Cassius Winston. Izzo plays a lot of dudes.
- Joshua Langford can still shoot but he's not quite the player he was prior to two years worth of injuries
- Slasher Aaron Henry has also struggled with his shot this year
- Kithier is your classic 'why is Izzo starting this guy' if you just look at box scores. Kithier is your classic sized Izzo post player who grabs rebounds and is a glue guy.
- Foster Loyer is your 6'0" PG who shoots 3s
- 6'7" Jr Gabe Brown is a 3 way scorer coming off the bench
- As this is a holiday issue, let me just wind up by saying that Michigan St plays a bunch of guys off the bench and maybe some of them will come in and have themselves a game. Worth mentioning that Jack Hoiberg is a junior who got the start last year in Lincoln. I'd only expect to see him in this one if the game gets out of hand.
While I'm sure you're aware of Nebraska's troubles in conference play, did you know that Michigan St is also 0-3 in conference and coming off an embarrassing loss? I can only imagine the hues of red Izzo was the day of and after the 25 point beat down in Minnesota. Expect both teams to come out punching in this one, hopefully just in a metaphorical sense. Both teams are going to try and work their way into the paint and both are going to start defending like it's the last 2 minutes in a NBA game.
Between two fragile type teams, look for the winner to be the first one to establish a run tonight. We can hope that some of the wrinkles that Hoiberg has added or maybe even simply turning the calendar to 2021 will be the spark Nebraska needs.
Prediction: Michigan St 82 - Nebraska 70