After the Spartan’s blowout loss at Iowa, the team is at a crossroads, and no one’s starting position is safe. I spoke with Jim Comparoni of SpartanMag.com about what’s next for Tom Izzo and MSU Basketball.
Bill Talks with Jim Comparoni of SpartanMag.com
Bill Simonson: I was looking at the state box score for that eighty six to sixty brutal loss at Iowa last night. Look at their starters, 19 points between Bingham, Brown, Hauser, Christie and Hoggard. And Christie. I don’t know if he’s lost confidence. You know you hit the wall when you know you played high school the year before and there was Malik Hall, you know, the one step up guy and Marble lately. Twenty three points and 11 boards between them. Beyond that, there is just, you know, I’m telling you, I think Akin’s with more minutes. And that could be coming, you know, Christie could slide to the bench. You know, he also has got a delicate process right now. You don’t want to kill somebody’s confidence. But Hauser, man, I mean, get Malik Hall in the starting line up, get, you know, Bingham, you still need his size. But man Gabe Brown, no points 0 of 7,0 of 5 from three point range, no, he can’t be started. Can’t. No Way. Jim Comparoni, SpartanMag.com. The Michigan State Insider is standing by on the Meijer guest line and you know, Comp. You’re looking at a team right now that, yeah, I get that they’re still in the tournament and they’re out of the Big Ten title chase. But you know, the way they played last night, I look at the rest of schedule and think who are they going to beat. Seriously.
Jim Comparoni: Yeah, they’ll be underdogs in every game, except probably the Maryland game at home. And they were underdogs last night, and they’re underdogs. I think they might have been favorite against Illinois for some reason, but yeah, they’re they’re going to have trouble finding one more win, let alone more than one more win from here on out, unless unless they unless they change, unless they obviously unless they change, how they’re how they’re playing and who’s playing and what kind of success they have. They’ve got some issues. No question.
Bill Simonson: Izzo did say after the game that you know, he will make changes. He’s going to, you know, think it through what are changes that won’t flush the rest of the season and make a point to the rest of the team. What can Izzo do right now to kind of write this and stop the bleeding?
Jim Comparoni: A couple of guys, I think, could be coming out of the starting lineup. I think Marcus Bingham, you know, he was down to 12 or 13 minutes again last night. They went to him on the first possession of the game, which is scripted. You know, Izzo scripts the first five or six possessions of the game? He’s been trying to get Marcus being able to get down into the post and make him make his presence felt down there to try to help with spacing elsewhere in the court. Got it down to him low. The first possession made a hook shot. And then, you know, if it was to what is said after the game, he says. You know, Marcus, being the only guy we have posting up is Julius Marble. He didn’t mention Bingham by name, but he said the only guy way of posting up is Marble. When asked why Michigan State only had four free throws and he said, Well, that was part of it, we’re not posting up. He’s been trying to get Bingham to post up. He’s having trouble getting players to do what Izzo is trying to emphasize. So, you know, Bingham had the one play with that defensive rebound and Iowa stole the ball from his hands, which, you know, kind of goes against everything Izoo’s been preaching about playing with passion and toughness and valuing the ball and all those things. And then, you know, Bingham had that travel out of the top of the key, when Michigan State had gone out a little bit of a run and cut it to 10 points and not something you want Bingham doing. You know, he shoots occasionally. Once in a while, he’ll face up and, you know, drives swoop to the hoop. But at this point, that was a transition situation. He travels, and it really bothered Izzo . It’s not just one transgression. Izzo’s had trouble getting through to him over the long haul and Marcus Bingham’s a real good, you know, real good guy, bright personality, fun, but Izzo’s losing patience with him. So Bingham came out and sat for most of the rest of the game, I think the rest of the game. So it wouldn’t surprise me if he comes out of the starting lineup, as Izzo continues to try to get through to him, to do the type of role they want from him. So that’s the Bingham situation. Marble’s playing well. I wouldn’t be surprised if Marble starts. Izzo’s not really big on who starts . He’s more, he’s bigger on who finishes and who plays the most minutes. But if starting is something that a player values and he can get through to a player by taking him out of the starting lineup, he will do that. So that’s Bingham. Now Gabe Brown is just flat in a senior slump. You know, he had the one big game during the blowout loss at Rutgers. He was six of seven from three point range in that game, 20 points. That’s the big outlier right now for him. The other eight of the last nine games he’s shooting twenty eight percent from the field. 16 out of 63. 18 percent from three point range. Six out of 38. Gabe Brown is struggling. He’s not rebounding much. They played him at the end of the game last night. Trying to get him to end the game on a good note. Izzo likes his heart, likes what he’s about. Likes the work that he puts in. But he’s just not productive and he’s kind of one dimensional. That one dimension has gone south on him. You mentioned Christie. Christie’s in a freshman slump. You know, the last seven games, three out of 22 from three point range managed to make one three pointer last night. That’s I think that’s the first time in five games he had a three pointer. In the last seven games he’s shooting 28 percent from the field, 13 percent from three point range. Brown and Christie are guys that are getting a lot of minutes. They’re starting, they’re getting a lot of minutes, usually up around 30 minutes a game although Brown’s minutes have been decreasing. Izzo has never had a team with do starting guards, his wings, the left wing and the right wing. He’s ever had a team with two starters that have shot this poorly over a seven or eight game stretch, never. So he’s trying to, you know, if they’re not shooting, then the transition game’s not working. The offense doesn’t work when you don’t have a shooting threat, so that is a big part of it. So who comes out of the starting lineup? I’m guessing Bingham and I’m guessing Gabe Brown. Your next question is who goes back in? I would imagine in place of those two ?
Bill Simonson: Yeah, you know, I kind of look at Walker between Walker, Marble and Hall. There is a productive game in terms of points where I think the numbers like thirty five. I just I I like Hoggard’s Minutes, but he seems it’s almost like the Killian Hayes thing when I watch Killian Hayes that he seems better coming off the bench. You know, I think Akins had 18 minutes with more minutes. I think that guy’s athleticism is necessary. This is scary. You, you could bench the entire starting five and insert Hall, Marvel, Akins and Walker. And maybe there’s one of those five, whether you know, it’s, you know, Bingham just for size, you really could eliminate at least four starters. And I don’t think you play any worse basketball. I actually I think it would be better.
Jim Comparoni: You, you could. You could arguably replace. Yeah, all five, five starters. You could you.
Bill Simonson: The problem is, you don’t have you have Walker, you have Aikens, you have Marble, you have obviously Malik Hall, who I think would be your MVP on the Michigan State team if they were having another team banquet tonight? Yeah, I just and Marble really has been getting some good, hard blue collar type of work that Izzo loves. We’ll see, man. I’m looking at the rest of the schedule and who knows where Michigan basketball is at minus Howard, but they’ve got some work to do. If they lose out there, I don’t think they’ll make it the selection Sunday. I really don’t
Jim Comparoni: Yeah, if they lose out, they would need to win at least one game of the Big Ten Tournament.
Bill Simonson: Maybe two. My magic number is you got to finish 500 in the Big Ten and then win that Big Ten tourney opener and you’ll get in. Jim Comparoni SpartanMag.com , the MSU insider. Follow everything. Michigan State basketball, football and more on your schedule at SpartanMag.com. Thanks for your huge opinions. We’ll talk soon.
Jim Comparoni: Appreciate it, Bill. Thanks.
Bill Simonson: Yeah, it’s pretty bad when you could remove every starter. Every starter yet, this team is still in the NCAA tournament today, so you’ve got to give Izzo some credit and a staff for what they’ve done.
Image courtesy USA Today