News and Notes from Spartan Basketball 01/29/10 Edition

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Will the Spartans look past Northwestern with a trip to Madison on their minds?  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Will the Spartans look past Northwestern with a trip to Madison on their minds? Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

News and Notes from Spartan Basketball 11/23/10 Edition

 

The Spartans constant talk about footprints is genuine, but Izzo has done a good job of keeping them focused. They got the footprint with the best Big Ten start in school history, but they want more.

I am working on a story for the May magazine about Spartan athletes and their mother’s that have had such a huge impact on their lives. Delvon Roe can hardly talk about his mom without getting emotional. You can watch an interview I did with Delvon by CLICKING RIGHT HERE, but the amazing thing is how Izzo in the recruiting process gets so many of the moms to help him.

Make sure you check Spartan Nation on Saturday morning for an article on Chris Allen. He has grown up both personally and as a basketball player and we had a great conversation about it after practice yesterday.

One would think that playing a Northwestern team that you destroyed at home to start the Big Ten season would be difficult from a motivation standpoint. Once again Izzo has found the buttons to push. He reminds the players about the loss last year at the Breslin and more importantly about what the fans said afterwards.

Travis Walton being back as a student assistant is huge. First, Walton was one of the favorite players so his rapport is magnificent. Secondly, his work ethic is legendary and as a scout team player he will give Kalin and Korie a better look than any Big Ten guard they will face on defense.

Garrick Sherman is a talented young man. Figuring out the college game and Izzo at the same time can be a challenge. He has a great work ethic and is a high character young man and I can’t wait to see what he will become. He is adjusting, but he will be a good one.

With a 2 ½ -3 game lead over the rest of the Big Ten is the race over? I am certain it is. I still expect the Spartans to lose at two games, but they won’t give up the title now. Of course the caveat is that they avoid a major injury and sustain their level of play. That is what makes college basketball so exciting. Even when it appears (as it does now) that a race is over the journey still has as many twists and turns as a soap opera.

Allow me to look ahead for a minute. Assuming that no players from this team leave early, can you imagine what the 2010-2011 Spartans will look like? Who will get minutes? They don’t have enough basketballs. If everyone comes back I can’t see how that team isn’t the pre season number one.

Here is a tid bit for today’s column from MSU men’s basketball SID Matt Larson: This weekend is Coaches Vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend, a collaborative initiative of the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Therefore, the MSU coaching staff will be wearing sneakers with their suits for Saturday night's game vs. Northwestern.

This team has shown considerable discipline all season about the task in front of them. With Northwestern on Saturday, I can’t help but wonder if they aren’t peaking ahead to two big road games next week. Tuesday at Wisconsin and Saturday at Illinois. I know that I mentioned this earlier, but I think it will show us a lot about the maturity of what is still a young team.

Without a doubt next week will be the most difficult of the season. On the road no less. This will be the biggest test since UNC and will tell us a lot about how far this team has grown this season. 

As for Saturday, I am looking to see if the Spartans, at home, can start fast and put an opponent away early that they know they are superior to. Lots of playing time for a lot of players with a quick turn around for Wisconsin on Tuesday.