Good points...the only thing I would say is beating Nebraska handily should be a given...we really haven't beaten a top team all year. Iowa playing without CJ Frederick (key player for Iowa) was our best win. We have won some good games, but when we move up against better teams we have lost. We have opportunities against Michigan and Ohio St in the next week, then the Big 10 Tourney. Losing last night to a team that was desperate on their home floor with a poor performance and bad officiating not the end of the world. We will know what we are in the next 10 days.This one stung no doubt, but actually feel better about this one than some of our other losses and too close, play-down-to-the competition wins. In those situations we tend to lack focus and intensity. Last night we
1.Only had 11 turnovers (granted 8 were in the first half but shows we at least refocused at half. 11 is probably below our season average)
2. Outrebounded MSU despite their really physical play, including grabbing more offensive rebounds.
3. Free throws, yes we missed 15 but 12 of those were from Ayo/Kofi, and 3 of Ayo’s 4 were when he was still dazed. MSU clearly got in Kofi’s head, which he has to be better at controlling. But, a lot of his misses looked good. They were just a little short/long or rimmed out. I feel like when he’s not focused there’s a lot of bad misses off the side of the rim and there were very few of those last night. The rest of the team was 12-15.
All 3 cut against us being flat or unfocused and may explain why Brad wasn’t overly upset. As Brad and many others have said, it just wasn’t our night.
Also, Curbello seemed to get his mojo back last night and Trent remained on a heater. If those guys continue to play at that level and we get just average games from Ayo and Kofi we will be a really tough out.
3 things I didn’t like:
1. The hesitancy in shooting open 3’s. DaMonte is the primary culprit here but there were others too. As well as we shoot the 3 I feel like we should be taking more, especially when we are open.
2. Not the reason we lost, but the refs had a few missed calls at really inopportune times that killed several of our rallies. Ayo gets raked across the arm, jump ball. Giorgi wrangles a tie up with Hauser, foul. Ball pops into the air and Ayo jumps to deflect it, foul on Ayo. Trent brushes Watts well after the shot is gone and Watts flops, foul on Trent. And the missed out of bounds call off the MSU player.
3. Probably most egregious was not calling the flagrant on Kofi in the first half. That knock on the head was well after the whistle and nothing more than a cheap shot. Our guys have been called for a lot less. IMO, that no call led directly to the flagrant 2 on Ayo.
I don’t mind physical play but it felt like the old Bulls Piston series out there. Missed calls happen, but refs did a really poor job of controlling the cheap shots. We are lucky Ayo or anyone else didn’t get hurt. No place for any of that and I definitely lost some respect for Izzo as, in my opinion, all of that was by design.
Finally, we probably could have overcome all of it if MSU had shot closer to their season average. We’ve played better defense, but they hit an awful lot of tough, contested floaters/fall aways/etc with very timely three point shooting. Does anyone know if that “luck” metric takes into account shooting percentage in excess of expectation based on shots taken? If so I can see why we are ranked near the bottom. With the exception of Wisconsin, it always feels like teams hit more than their fair share of tough shots against us.
Apologies for the long post, I just had several observations I wanted to share that don’t have me as discouraged as the Maryland or Mizzou losses or even the Nebraska and Northwestern wins. May cost us a seed line but I actually don’t think this loss is the worst thing that could happen to them.
If we play this way against Nebraska way more layups and free throws will go down and we win by 30. Trick is to come out as focused and with as much energy as we did last night.