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Dan, certainly appreciate your article and hearing more about our Spartans. I have been fortunate enough to see them twice this season (even though I live in Atlanta). The Kansas game and then down in Miami. My sense is that this is a very average MSU team. Now, being "average" at State is a great team for 90% of D1 programs. However, for us, it is a step back. The fact is, we really have a lot of good players but no great players. And at this level, that translates to 2nd round exit from the Tournament.
This is a critical point in Izzo's career. With IU and especially Michigan back in the recruiting war, this is a much tougher environment for landing elite talent. By all accounts, Izzo is putting a full court press to land top 10 talent (Parker, Jones, Alexander, Okafor). If he not able to land at least one of these players, we could be seeing the downward slope of his career. I am really not trying to be a Debbie Downer, just trying to look at our future objectively. The Gauna's, Costello's, Kaminski's will not get us to another Elite Eight much less a National Championship. Parker could arguably be our most important target since Mateen. If we don't land him, we are possible looking at two years of .500 B1G records...
Personally, I wholeheartedly disagree about the talent level. Appling, Dawson, and Harris are "great" players. Costello has been hurt and Kaminski is hurt so there's no way of measuring their impact. There is certainly more talent on here than some other FF teams. The problem is that they haven't figured out how to play as a team yet.
I personally believe the lack of strong output in the middle and the youth and inexperience of many of our best players(Harris, Dawson, Costello) have caused this season to start slow, there was not much proven to rely upon to begin this season. They have proven to be a hard fighting group of kids with a lot of untapped talent. Once they learn to bring it every night things will fall into place for a successful season, in comparison to preseason expectations with the departed DG23.
I personally do not have any thoughts or causes to believe that anything is on the downward side of Izzos career. I see this season in both football and basketball as a major rehitch before we elevate this athletics program to another level.
Lack of shooters on the perimeter and inside will result in a sweet 16 ceiling a la last year. Lville just packed it in.
Very little offense inside from Payne or Nix.
Appling and Harris give us some perimeter offense. Trice is not a starter and is a liability on defense vs bigger guards.
Need some pure shooters...dont need 4 like UM has but need at least one
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