Everyone on Michigan State’s basketball team has faced an adjustment this season. Prominent role players have turned into centerpieces and role players have turned into important contributors.
For senior guard Travis Trice, that has meant the adjustment to being a focus of opposing defenses.
”Last year, I probably might not have even been on the scouting report and I know now I will be,” Trice said. “It seems like there is always a guy right by me or I can hear a coach saying don’t leave him, don’t leave him. So, it’s kinda frustrating sometimes, but just going to have to adjust.”
Trice has gone from averaging 22.3 minutes as a junior to 33.1 as a senior. He also has seen his shots per game double from 5.8 to 11.7 per game.
And while those numbers have jumped, he has seen his share of ups and downs. He has had two games with more than 20 points in Big Ten play and two with less than six. But since being named Big Ten player of the week following big showings at Iowa and against Northwestern, he has seen the attention on him jump.
”It has been ever since after the Iowa, it’s been like that,” Trice said. “Actually even since we started Big Ten really, it’s been like that.”
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said it is an understandable adjustment for a player to make as he changes roles into a prominent one – and finding the pressure that comes with it.
”Every player in the world wants to be `the man,’” Izzo said. “The BMOC, is that what they say? Big man on campus. Everybody wants to be that, but with it goes a lot of responsibility. There goes some pressure with being `the man.' It's not as easy as you think.”
And with some less-than-normal shooting numbers in the past few games – he has hit just 2 of 11 on 3s in the past three games – Trice will look to regain the form that had him score in double-digits in nine of 13 nonconference games. And he will have to do it while accepting opponents are going to know his name.
”That’s something you just have to adjust,” he said. “Know you’re going to be heavily scouted for Big Ten games, so you just gotta be ready for it.”