Lucas driving force behind Michigan State’s turnaround

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Michigan State’s NCAA tournament crisis is in a holding pattern. Right now, the Spartans (15-11 overall, 7-7 in Big Ten play) are in. Win at Minnesota on Tuesday night and they’ll be in even better shape.

The only problem? One half of the Spartans’ dynamite duo is under the weather.

Draymond Green played just 27 minutes of Saturday’s 61-57 win vs. Illinois, his lowest total since Dec. 22. He’s fighting a nasty virus that’s still in his system despite doctors attending to him the last few days.

That puts even more pressure on Kalin Lucas to carry the offensive load. Not to worry. He’s been doing that for weeks now. And doing it exceedingly well.

The Big Ten Geeks say the senior point guard is having his best season yet as a Spartan, even better than when he was Big Ten player of the year in 2009. KJ at The Only Colors agrees, and details quite a few reasons why.

Lucas’s game-by-game offensive efficiency marks have been right in the same range as they were during this conference-player-of-the-year campaign.  If anything, he’s been more consistent, avoiding any really bad off nights.  And he’s doing it with much less in the way of a reliable supporting cast on offense–none of the guards are currently consistent double-digit scorers, and, low post play has only recently become a significant factor. 

Need a visual aid? Try these.

If you’re a Big Ten team playing Michigan State, how does Lucas ever get a shot off? The Spartans have no reliable post threat and Durrell Summers is an inconsistent supporting player. Either Lucas is playing on another level right now, or Big Ten opponents need to focus their defensive efforts on him.

But that may not be enough when a guy’s in a zone like Lucas.

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