I really thought that the difference tonight was the number of easy looks that MSU was able to get at their offensive end, and the ball pressure and ability to deny our shooters at the other end. They just got a few more easy looks and it was the difference in the game. Our turnovers tonight weren’t unforced turnovers (mostly), they were the type of plays that you make when you’re on the road against a top-10 caliber team that can put so much ball pressure on you and force you to start the offense 30 feet from the basket.
Although it goes down as a loss, this was one of the best 2-3 games that we played all season. Brooks/Jones are the keys to next season, and they are starting to get it together (not an uncommon theme at this point in the season). It’s imperitive that they build off of this instead of starting over at square one. Though we missed some FTs, we made the front ends of 1-and-1’s which is something that’s killed us. Babb is really finding his stroke again and also has a servicable midrange jumper. If he and DJ can make shots, it adds a different element to our offense and opens up both Talor and the lane a lot more. Had PSU played at the level that they played tonight for all 18 games this Big Ten season, it would be a 10-8 type team. I really hope that the guys realize next season that it’s their last chance, and that we see this type of intensity and execution every night.
For those that comment on Sasa’s offense, I think it’s pretty clear that he has the offensive game to be a regular in the rotation. However, he still needs a lot of work at the defensive end. He just looks a step slow at the defensive end, but I don’t think it’s a quickness or speed issue as much as it’s needing to get more comfortable to this level of play. He’s always just a little unsure of when to switch on a screen or lets his man get a little too deep on the block to receive the ball. I think it will come to him, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s seeing more minutes than Ott as the backup at the 5 at this point next season. I also think that we’ll have the opportunity to keep mixing and matching next year, as we say Brooks at the 5 for a stretch tonight and it might be necessary if we want to get all of our guards on the court next season. I think we might see Babb playing more and more at the 3 (or just simply going with a 3 guard offense), with Edwards/Jones/Brooks getting all of the minutes at the 4 and Brooks even sliding to the 5 if we want to go small and create a match-up problem. We probably can’t get away with that type of lineup in a m2m, however running a 1-3-1 or a 2-3 gives us a little more flexability in stretches.