Random Thoughts…on MSU and U-M Basketball
Wednesday night's loss to North Carolina at the Breslin Center should raise alarms to the glaring weakness of the MSU men's basketball team that I see: A lack of depth.
This comes to the forefront as injuries are mounting. Center Matt Costello apparently has mononucleosis, Guard Keith Appling took a nasty fall and injured his hip in the 1st half. Forward Adreian Payne had leg cramps which limited him. And shooting guard Gary Harris turned his ankle. What does this mean???
It means now that other guys need to step up, but who does Coach Tom Izzo have??? Center Alex Gauna is ineffective and forward Brandon Dawson is wildly inconsistent. Guards Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine are fine backups but they have limitations. Trice isn't big enough (listed at 6-0), and Valentine isn't a good enough shooter to keep teams honest. Freshmen Gavin Schilling, Kenny Kaminski, and Alvin Ellis III need to grow up in a hurry.
As for Michigan, they have their own injury issues. Guard Nik Stauskas is vastly improved but is playing on a bad ankle that he hurt in Puerto Rico. Center Mitch McGary isn't quite all the way back from his back injury that delayed the start of his sophomore season, and fellow sophomore Glenn Robinson III is nursing a minor back injury but I think he's underachieving (8 points and 3 rebounds at Duke isn't good enough).
Frontcourt scoring depth is a problem as well (like MSU). Jordan Morgan, Jon Horford and Max Bielfeldt are nice players, but they're more defense and rebounding guys.
Sophomore Caris Levert's improvement is startling but the 5-3 Wolverines still have to iron out the point guard position between Derrick Walton, Jr. and Spike Albrecht. They also need to rebound the ball better and play better defense. Soon-to-be Number 1 Arizona comes to Ann Arbor before Christmas and they play Stanford in Brooklyn before Big Ten play even starts. Coach Jon Beilein has pieces, but a lot of work needs to be done if they want to get to Arlington, TX and back-to-back Final Fours.
That's all for now...this is Brock Palmbos, signing off.