MSU lost 53-46 to Illinois at the Breslin Center today. Here are four things I took away from the game:
1) Payne needs to pass better out of the post.
When he. was double-teamed, the Spartans were successful when he could find the open guy. If he can’t make them regret the double team, they will continue to do so. Payne had 4 turnovers tonight.
2) Harris needs to drive.
Settling for 3-pointers is great when they are going in. But when they aren’t, the offense is stagnant. If Payne or Dawson can’t establish a post presence, Harris has to get some movement down low by driving. Otherwise, the Spartans will only be as successful as their shooting percentage. The inside-out dual threat that MSU had earlier this season has gone missing. Harris took ten 3-point shots today, six 2-point shots and zero free throws.
3) Trice has to run the offense.
In my opinion, Izzo needs to flop the roles of Trice and Appling. Trice is better than Appling is shooting the ball right now. MSU doesn’t lose anything on ball handling or defense if Trice takes over. Missing that Appling outside shot is costing MSU. Appling was 2 for 4 from 2-point range and 0 for 1 from 3-point land. His 3-pointer was as flat as it could be. This switch should happen, but it probably won’t.
4) MSU needs Costello to give them another option in the post.
If Payne is double-teamed, the Spartan perimeter has to be able to swing it around and get it down low again. Schilling hasn’t yet developed a post offense that can be counted on and Dawson is more of a clean-up guy. Costello scored just 2 points and grabbed just 2 rebounds. Costello must do better if State wants to succeed.