What do you think about Travis Trice's sudden re-emergence? Was he worn down from too many minutes? How much of this improved play is Tum Tum Nairn shouldering the responsibility of running the point?
I do not think it is a coincidence that Tum Tum’s minutes going up in number and in quality has gone hand in hand with Trice playing better. I think there is an extent to which it was Trice being worn down by not only minutes, but also being the focal point of an opposing defense and getting checked for almost 40 minutes a game. Frankly, I think the best MSU lineup is Nairn at the point with Trice at the two. It is small defensively, but really good on the break – (and I will have a story on this coming up after talking to the pair yesterday about just that)
Do you watch practices? Have you noticed if our notoriously poor free throw shooters (and you know who they are) shoot well in practice? Or are they just bad shooters from the line whenever they are shooting free throws?
We do see about an hour of practice each week and sometimes that entails seeing the end of practice with free-throw shooting. I can’t say I sit and watch every single shot from specific players, but it seems like they are roughly the same shooters in practice as they are in games.
How would you describe the basketball team's perceived ceiling for 2015 as compared to what you felt about them only a few short weeks ago? Remarkable change, no? And really, isn't it absolutely essential to win at least one of the three remaining road games, if not for a bid then at least for the team's momentum as we enter March?
I think the ceiling is the same as it has been, but now it looks more like this team will come close to its ceiling or maybe even reach it. The story all season has been can MSU get its key guys going at the same time and you’re starting to see consistency from Trice, Denzel Valentine and Branden Dawson in the same games – which is what MSU has needed to have. So the change has been, to me, in coming close realizing the potential. As for the road wins, MSU has a good shot to go to Illinois and Indiana and get a couple really quality wins to keep the momentum going and building a stronger resume – and a higher seed in the Big Ten Tournament.
Any big recruiting weekends coming up?
Gotta figure Michigan State will sneak in another junior day before basketball season is over, but the big one, naturally, will be the spring game.