Spartans Look to Avoid Slow Starts That Have Plagued them All Season Tonight in Madison

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Spartans Look to Avoid Slow Start in Madison

Bo Ryan and his Badgers hope the Spartans slow starts continue tonight in Madison.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Bo Ryan and his Badgers hope the Spartans slow starts continue tonight in Madison. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

When the Spartans tip off tonight at 9 PM at the Kohl Center the slow starts that have plagued them all year will have to be on their mind.

“I don’t know why. It’s frustrating, but we have to play through it,” was how Kalin Lucas described the starts that have dogged his team all year. “I can’t really put a finger on why we have, but we just need to keep playing great defense and fight our way out of it. It would be nice to just start strong shooting,” was Delvon Roe’s thoughts.

Tonight in Madison the considerably more athletic Spartans will take on a very well coached Wisconsin team that would love to see a 54-53 game and not a 81-79 game. Draymond Green is without a doubt the voice of this team and he too is frustrated with his team’s slow starts, “It aggravating and it’s annoying. I don’t really care why they happen, I just want them to stop.”

The fact that the Spartans have been able to overcome slow starts to rise to #5 in the nation and a perfect 9-0 in league play isn’t a shock if you are around the team as I am. This team is resilient and tough. Their hard-nosed blue-collar defense has helped when their shots weren’t falling.

“Yes and no. I am shocked and not shocked that we have our record with our slow starts,” was how assistant coach Mike Garland described his team. “We're defending well enough and more importantly long enough until we can get in some type of a rhythm. We just need to pick it up with some early transition baskets to fix this.”

I caught up after practice this week with another Izzo assistant in Dwayne Stephens who echoed Garland’s thoughts. “We know we have a good team. We just have to make some early shots. The biggest fact is the way we defend we can play with anyone.”

I agree with both and the Spartan defense gets the most credit for their success this year. “Most players take pride in their scoring and I think this year this team has just decided to take pride in our defense, I know that I have and others have and that is what has kept us going when shots weren’t,” was rising defensive star Chris Allen’s thoughts on the slow starts.

One thing is certain, this will be the toughest test tonight so far this season and tough defense and those transition basketball will be a tell tale sign for the Spartans. Buckle your seat belts; this one should be a good one.