Monday, March 30, 2009

Breaking Down MSU vs UConn Part 1

  • This is Part 1 of my 5 part series breaking down the MSU vs UConn Final Four match up. First up the guards, then forwards, then centers, then benches, then coaches leading up to the game on Saturday.
  • Guard play is very important to any team advancing this far in the tournament. Big man win championships, guards get you there. It has been well publicized my beliefs in the ability of Kalin Lucas to run the offense and score at will at some points. Travis Walton is a vital veteran presence who handles the ball well and distributes. He plays exceptional defense but does not score too much. He did drop 18 against USC and has played like a senior who wants a ring. They balance each other out very well and jump start the Spartans offense. Now we have the Huskies exceptional guards Jerome Dyson and A.J. Price. Price is good. Best player on the team good. Make game plans to stop him good. He and Dyson have experience (Dyson is a Junior, Price a Senior) and size on there side as they are 6'2'' (Price) and 6'4'' (Dyson). Walton measures up at 6'2'' but Lucas is only 6'0''. Not monumental but still notable. Price and Dyson slash and play the whole court well and score all over the court. Price shoots well from behind the arc at a 40.3% average. This poses problems in match ups on defense for the Spartans. Stopping the duo will be very important if the Spartans are to advance. Dyson also averages 1.8 steals per game to make the Spartans handle the ball carefully. I hate to see MSU be sloppy with the ball, and try to feel better about it because they play in a conference.
  • Verdict: I give the slight edge to UConn. MSU does not have the overall talent yet of Dyson-Price. although Walton is a better defender than both. Lucas could be a factor is he can hit three pointers with people in his face like he did against Louisville. I can't see MSU outplaying UConns guards in this match up. Lucas could be to a level of an elite guard in a year or two, but must play exceptionally well on Saturday to win this match up.
  • The Detroit Lions begin their defense of the 2008 Pre-Season Championship in August. When Jim "The Saviour" Schwartz step on the field for the game, we can only hope he took it as seriously as Rod did. Week 1 vs. Atlanta Falcons, Week 2 : at Cleveland Browns,Week 3 : vs. Indianapolis Colts,Week 4 : at Buffalo Bills
  • Freshman scoring leader Seth Curry will transfer to Duke. He attended Liberty last season.


  1. I find it to be interesting. Kalin Lucas has become much better defensively under the tutelage of Travis Walton. They're not a high-scoring duo, mostly because they specialize on the opposite ends of the spectrum, but they're both fairly capable in their counterparts' specialty, and it is when they contribute in their converse skill that MSU runs away from opponents.

    I can't speak to Connecticut's lineup, for the reasons that:

    * A. I don't really follow anybody solidly other than MSU.
    * B. I purposely choose to not scout the opposition, rather see who does what on what day. I've found that when I know of somebody on the roster, I begin to fear them, and they do exceptionally well. Greg Oden, Talor Battle, Kevin Coble, Ty Lawson/Tyler Hansborough, Cole Aldrich/Sherron Collins (but a 2x W!), and now Hasheem Thabeet....not exactly a strong track record.

    However, I point out that MSU has some depth at guard. First of all, Kalin Lucas Is Fast. And Korie Lucious Is Fast. (KLIF)^2. Sometimes so fast that Lucious loses a handle of the ball and leads to turnovers. Cue the shaming picture.

    I'm not sure if we are classifying Chris Allen and Durrell Summers as #3 guard/forwards, but for Allen, who plays the #2 spot mostly, his defense had been mostly atrocious during the year, but he stepped up in a big way against Louisville. Usually, he is referred to as a better Maurice "MoJo" Joseph, because his shot comes and goes, but at least he shows up way more often than MoJo (transferred after 2007, now at Vermont). Allen didn't even hit a number of game-changing shots, but his backdoor dunk and hustle on the boards and the Cardinals' guards was noticeable and impacting.

    Follow Season Tickets With Weston Corbitt and Marching On The Red Cedar throughout the week for more analysis.

  2. Very informed and well planned comment Tek. I left out the depth at guard because on Thursday I'll do a whole piece on the bench. The Spartans have incredible depth at almost every position. Remember this is a slight victory for UConn and I agree, Kalin Lucas is much better off to play with Walton for two seasons. He will have a "Larry Brown Effect" and install defense into his game years after Walton has graduated.