Well, power won over speed. Of course, speed doesn't matter if you don;t use it. One constant on this team for the past 2-3 years is that A&M's bigs play small. They are skilled and can really score against teams with small posts, but David Loubeau simply can't make his move against a legit 6-foot-10 post.
Both he and Ray Turner tried to go to the rim early and were resounding rejected and they played scared from that point forward. You can add Kourtney Roberson to the list as well. Keith Davis is the only post with the length to combat the type of front line that MSU, but frankly Davis looks lost out there. He was never very good offensively, but I was most disappointed in his defense. He looks like he's regressed from last year and that's not good because he's going to be your primary big men next season.
MSU's big men dominated the boards as well. I can only recall one offensive rebound by an A&M post. A&M had one shot every time, while MSU seems to anticipate and were quicker to rebounds on their offensive end.
To me, that was the storyline of the game...but here are more observations.
1) If I'm the coaching staff, I'd tell Dash that if he ever goes coast to coast and pulls up for a 3-pointer that he will never step foot on a basketball court in an A&M uniform. Unfortunately, the team needs Harris on the court because he's the only guard with the foot speed to stick to a high D-1 point guard.
2) The one observation that disappointed me and surprised me the most was the inability of Jamal Branch to keep his man in front of him. He tried to get in his man's face and cause some distraction, but the MSU guards were simply too quick and easily got around him without much effort. If you aren't quicker than the man you are guarding, then you have to back up a step and take the angles away. You must be quicker if you plan to get in the guy's grill. Branch should have realized that after getting burned the first two times. Branch has the quickness because I've seen him over the past couple of years and he has the foot speed, but for some reason he seemed a step slow tonight. Hopefully it was just the national TV big game jitters for a young freshman on the stage for the first time.
3) Elston Turner is a gamer, but as I suspected his lack of quickness will ultimately limit what he can do against the more athletic teams.
4) I'm not sure what the team was trying to do on offense. They looked lost and weren't really interested in running an offense. |Ironically, the offensive sets looked very similar to what we saw under Turgeon.
5) I think Jordan Green will be a surprisingly nice offensive player, but again his issue will be foot speed on defense.
6) Naji Hibbert is a better defender than Green, but he's been lost on offense until tonight. I'm not saying he had a great game, but he did a few things on national TV that maks you somewhat optimistic that he can give the team 10 minutes of decent basketball. I'm not sold yet, but I'm at least willing to see what else he can bring to the table tomorrow.
7) I know it was trash time against the scrubs but I'll give Daniel Alexander a shut out for picking that guy's pocket at the end. At least he made a play on defense...something the other 11 players didn't do tonight.
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