March 15th, 2004
Scouting Report: Michigan
Continuing with the
theme of guard play, Michigan State features arguably the deepest corps
in the nation. Shannon Brown, Kelvin Torbert, Chris Hill, Maurice
Ager, and SG/SF/PF Alan Anderson give Tom Izzo exceptional firepower and
athleticism in the backcourt.
Brown is a tremendous
leaper and open-court finisher, as is Torbert. Hill is a deadly spot-up
shooter when he’s confident. Ager is also a great shooter, but a little
streaky, and Anderson is a tough, athletic slasher.
Michigan State is
extremely balanced, with four players averaging over ten points a game
and Hill and Torbert over nine. Freshman point guard Drew Neitzel
is young and inexperienced, but has played well since taking over for
Hill at the point.
Paul Davis gets a lot
of criticism, but is still one of the nation’s better big men, almost
single-handedly holding down the post for the Spartans and commanding
double teams on offense.
The Spartans are strong
on both ends, finishing second in the Big Ten is scoring offense and
fourth in scoring defense.
As talented as Michigan
State is, they’re far from a complete team. All of their guards can
handle the ball, but only Neitzel is a natural ball handler who doesn’t
have to carefully plot each move before making it.
They have too many
players that play the same position (shooting guard), and the inside
players except for Davis have not panned out as coach Tom Izzo expected.
Matt Trannon and Delco Rowley are undersized and too raw on offense, and
Drew Naymick is not very confident or aggressive.
Izzo has failed to
establish a consistent playing rotation and probably needs to do a
of riding the hot
hand instead of constantly shuffling lineups.
The Spartans have
lacked killer instinct, failing to put away teams such as Iowa in the
Big Ten Tournament and not playing well in big games. They have just one
win over ranked opponents in the last two seasons (Wisconsin at home
Michigan State has the firepower to get hot and go on a run, but they
seem to lack the intangibles that distinguish good teams from great
ones. They’re missing a power forward like an Antonio Smith or Andre
Hutson in years past to do the dirty work down low.
Second-round loss to Syracuse.
More Big Ten
NCAA Tournament Scouting Reports
So you think the Big Ten had a
down year? Most conferences would kill for 5 NCAA Tournament
teams, and the #1 seed in the entire field of 65. Maybe the Big
Ten isn't as strong as it has been in recent years, but you'd be foolish
to just ignore the damage that a Michigan State or Wisconsin can do.
Nick Meyer presents scouting reports for each Big Ten team that's
playing in the post-season, including NIT bound Indiana.
Indiana Scouting Report
Return to the
NCAA Tournament Homepage.