Spartans get thumped is West Lafayette. Worst performance since January 19, 1952!

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February 7, 2007

West Lafayette, IN

Mackey Arena

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So far in the Big Ten part of the schedule I have predicted it 100% accurate for the good guys. So assuming my streak would continue tonight, that meant the Spartans would show up and take care of the Boilermakers. Well, they did show up. Sadly that was about all they did.

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The Spartans came down here and their hearts must have been in East Lansing because they looked like men among boys and they got hammered. I don’t mean beat. I don’t even mean whipped, I mean they got their butts handed to them.

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They could do nothing right after the halftime break. They just collapsed. It wasn’t fatigue and it certainly wasn’t being outmatched, they just didn’t show up. Izzo said they were “fried” and I concur.

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I personally can’t remember the last time I saw an Izzo team get hammered so bad. Something happened at halftime that just mentally took them out of the game. How bad was it? Izzo looked fried himself and rightfully so at his post game news conference. The Spartans didn’t quit and they certainly didn’t give up, they just looked like their car ran out of gas.

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I felt bad even heading into the locker room after the game to talk to the team. What do you say to a great group of young men that just seemed like a deer in the headlights for an entire half? I just put up the mic and asked them to tell me what happened. They did. “…We just have a gut check time now. We have to look at ourselves and ask what it is we want from the rest of this season,” was Idong Ibok’s take. “I agree that it is gut check time, I have been down before and we just have to find a way to fix this,” was Neitzel’s thoughts.

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How bad you ask? Well here are some sad stats: the Spartans had no scorer in double digits and shot only 36.4%. They were out rebounded and looked spent. Walton said it best when I asked him what happened “…we don’t need no excuses. Everybody is tired, this is Spartan basketball and we can’t play that way.”

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I said at the beginning of the season that if Izzo could get them to the tournament then this would be his best coaching job. The tournament is still in sight but the Spartans will have to really help themselves. I think a 20-win team (before the Big Ten tournament) will get them in. Sadly this team had their own destiny in their hands tonight and a chance to take a big step towards that goal and they didn’t. They made life just that more difficult for themselves. This team does not have the weapons to get behind the proverbial 8 ball.

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They now have got themselves a four game losing streak, and teams are putting into their game plans that Neitzel is the only guy trying to score. McBride of Illinois said it best after beating the Spartans at home back on 1/30 “we just knew that you have to stop Neitzel, and then you win.” Thad Matta basically said the same thing last week. When I asked Izzo about teams keying on Nietzel he didn’t seem all that concerned, but Tom you better.Â

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Carl Landry tonight agreed with Matta and McBride when he said, “we just knew if we stopped Neitzel that we stopped them.” Someone has to step up or Drew will continue to struggle because teams will put five guys on him. He had an off night 2 for 11 with five points, but he didn’t play that bad. He just was double and triple teamed and none of his teammates stepped up. Someone has to step up for this team to do anything; the question is who will it be?

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MSU scored only 12 points in the second half and had only 38 for the game. This team has to do something now. The season is drifting away and tonight was simply embarrassing for a proud MSU program. You have to go back as far as January 19, 1952 to find a worse game for the Spartans and that my friends just isn’t acceptable for this team and more importantly this program.

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Have no fear Izzo is at the helm, but this ship needs to get on course fast. The big dance is coming and MSU wants that tenth straight golden ticket. I still think they will make it, but it isn’t going to be pretty.

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