Throughout Tom Izzo’s tenure at Michigan State the team’s half-court man-to-man defense has been a staple, and the Spartans have generally proven difficult to have a high rate of offensive success against. The reliance on that defense is why Izzo’s conversations earlier this summer about using some token full-court pressure due to the shortening of the shot clock caught some people off-guard.
According to the Detroit Free Press there’s another wrinkle the Spartans may use, and it’s likely that this wrinkle will show up more often than the full-court press. During Friday’s opening practice the Spartans worked on a 2-3 zone, and Izzo wants his assistants to make sure the team works on the defense consistently throughout the season.
That’s also why zone in general isn’t going to get heavy play at MSU, but having it as a tool could be beneficial — especially in games with touch fouls on the perimeter called in droves.
“I told (my assistant coaches): ‘You hold me accountable to working on it every day some’ … I have a tendency to drift off on that, and I don’t want to drift off on it,” Izzo said of the 2-3 zone. “But we will be, rest assured, a 90-some percent man-to-man team still and hopefully take some of those principles to zone.”
As noted in the story one of the risks in using pressure is allowing quality shots, which is why it’s unlikely that Michigan State will go to it. But even with Izzo vowing that his team will work on the zone, that doesn’t mean they’ll be playing it as often as Syracuse does.
Man-to-man has been Michigan State’s staple and it will continue to be. But it doesn’t hurt to look for other ways to keep opponents from getting the looks they want, especially if teams have five fewer seconds to find those shots.
Michigan State will be shorthanded when it begins practice in just over a week’s time, as one of their expected contributors has been sidelined due to injury.
Sophomore forward Marvin Clark Jr. underwent surgery on his left foot Tuesday, and as a result he’s expected to miss anywhere from six to eight weeks as a result. According to the Detroit Free Press a screw was inserted into Clark’s foot to address a stress reaction, and the decision was made to address this now given the fact that the season’s yet to begin.
Clark averaged 4.5 points and 2.2 rebounds in just over 11 minutes of action per game as a freshman, and with Branden Dawson having moved on he’s expected to play even more in 2015-16. With Clark now sidelined for the time being, freshman Deyonta Davis will be among those who absorb the sophomore’s minutes.
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is preparing for a huge weekend in East Lansing. Not only do the Spartans host Oregon on the football field in the first battle of top-ten teams in East Lansing in decades, but Izzo is hosting a number of big-time recruits on official visits.
Sources told NBCSports.com that Michigan State is expected to host official visits for 2016 commitments Nick Ward and Josh Langford to go along with the Spartans’ top remaining targets, in-state products Miles Bridges and Cassius Winston.
Other recruits from younger classes are also expected to attend the huge football game, but the added recruiting attention means that Izzo is upgrading his on-campus wheels for the weekend with a new golf cart.
While Langford, a five-star guard, and Ward, a four-star big man, are a tremendous start for Izzo’s 2016 recruiting efforts, if he could land another five-star prospect on the wing in Miles Bridges and a four-star point guard in Cassius Winston, he’ll have one of his best recruiting classes ever.
The football game isn’t the only thing Michigan State has to show off for recruits. The basketball program also recently renovated its practice facility and it just opened up to the team in early September. Former Spartan great Draymond Green also kicked off the big weekend by donating a Michigan State-record $3.1 million dollars on Thursday.
Winston is finishing up the last of his official visits with his trip to East Lansing while Bridges still has trips lined up to Kentucky, Michigan and North Carolina. It’ll take some time before we know if this big recruiting weekend paid off for Michigan State, but they’re certainly putting themselves in position for a potentially monstrous class.
(H/T: Kyle Austin, MLive)