Last time Michigan State met up with Purdue, they got punched in the mouth.
They quickly responded by letting the Boilermakers take another swing at them. If the Spartans are to have any chance Friday against Purdue, they need to be the ones to get out the boxing gloves and do their best Mike Tyson impressions.
The Spartans need to change some things to avoid what happened the last time they played Purdue.
“Last time out,” Kalin Lucas was the only Spartan to score in double-digits.
“Last time out,” Draymond Green managed seven points on 3-12 shooting.
“Last time out,” Derrick Nix played a whopping two minutes.
“Last time out,” JaJuan Johnson had a block party, recording seven deflections.
All of this helped lead to a 20 point drubbing at home, and a pathetic 47 points in front of the home crowd at the Breslin Center. One thing to remember, however, is that last time out Delvon Roe and the aforementioned Green were playing without hardly practicing the week before.
Now that their conditioning appears to be getting back to normal, let’s look to see if MSU can change the other three issues that I had with that game.
First off, I will attempt to tackle the problem of only having one scorer. I believe that I have already explained that Green seems to be back to normal (based on last night’s escape at Iowa.) If the Spartans can get another player (maybe Durrell Summers or Keith Appling) to share in the offensive duties, then their chances improve dramatically.
The second problem with that game was again related to Draymond Green. He does not usually shoot that poorly, but the Spartans absolutely need him to shoot better if they are going to have a chance. He said the right things and did the right things following the Michigan game (in which he went 3-14 from the field) and hopefully he can continue that against the Boilermakers.
The third problem with that game was Derrick Nix, or the lack thereof. Nix is an absolute load. If he gets the ball down low against a skinny post player such as Johnson (or Basabe for Iowa), he is capable of backing his way down and making a bucket.
People can not move him, so I hope that he gets a few more minutes this time around and that Izzo lets him have a few more touches on the block. This leads into the next problem.
JaJuan Johnson had seven blocks last time out, which slightly resembled myself playing basketball against my 5th graders at school during P.E. It was like no one on Michigan State’s team had ever heard of a pump fake.
Johnson is a shot blocker and he loves to get up and swat. If the Spartans can utilize a simple head/ball fake, Johnson will leap and allow the offense to go in for an easier shot (I hope the entire team reads this before the game, especially Roe, Green and Nix.)
Using a pump fake will allow Roe to use his athleticism, and not try to out jump Johnson. It will allow Green to use his smarts and either pass or lay it up. It will allow Nix to…forget it, Nix should just back him down and score.
An important thing to remember about Friday’s showdown is that the last time these teams faced, was the last time out. Since that game, Iowa has beaten the Boilers (whom State just beat), so this game is up in the air. The beauty of college basketball is you never know when Cinderella is going to put on her slipper and surprise everyone at the dance.
As a fan, I am glad that “last time out” was “last time out.”
Now all that matters is “this time out.”