December 5, 2013
DotComp: What the hell was that?
EAST LANSING - First the good news, from Michigan State's embarrassing, disturbing 79-65 loss to North Carolina on Wednesday night: Some day soon, preseason first-team All-America Gary Harris will presumably get over his ankle injury and return to good health.
Some day soon, preseason All-American candidate Adreian Payne will presumably get over his plantar fasciitis, return to practice on a regular basis and become a consistent force again, possibly balancing out his long-range shooting with more of a presence in the post.
Some day soon, Keith Appling will get back to playing like one of the top three or four (at least) point guards in America - as he was for the first seven games of the season. His string of great games was interrupted by a painful hip injury in the first half. It caused him to miss six or seven minutes, but more importantly it sapped him of some speed and threw his shot off, leading to an uncharacteristic 5-of-15 shooting night.
Some day soon, Matt Costello will recover from the severe cold, or nasal infection or whatever it is that has caused him to miss some practice time and live and play lethargically in recent weeks. He played through the sickness on Wednesday night and Tom Izzo said his gutty performance was the only bright spot of the game. Get him healthy and he may be able to build off of this game and begin to help MSU's suddenly severe depth and performance problem in the paint.
Now the bad news:
If and when those four personnel-related items get back to full steam, the Spartans will still have problem in the interior. And with it, Michigan State is going to have a difficult time becoming the defense-and-rebounding juggernaut that Izzo's best teams have been.
Without defense and rebounding as staples, Michigan State is going to have a very hard time pursuing the lofty goals Izzo and the players set for themselves this season.
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