Ho-hum, just another huge win for Spartan basketball last night in a thoroughly dominating performance against Wisconsin. I feel as if I'm getting spoiled.
I just finished re-watching the game on ESPN3, affording me the opportunity to focus on the details of the game. Here are some observations:
After a slow start, the Spartans went on a 14-0 run between the 9:23 mark of the first half to 4:27, when Jared Berggren of Wisconsin finally converted on a jumper to end the drought. This is the best defense MSU basketball has had since at least the '08-'09 team, which I suppose isn't going back that far and just goes to show how consistently good Tom Izzo-coached teams have been defensively.
Branden Dawson is blossoming as a player before our eyes. I noticed one Wisconsin possession in particular in which Dawson smothered Rob Wilson like a blanket. Dawson also had a spectacular coast-to-coast bucket in the first half in which he cut through defenders like a Lamborghini weaving through freeway traffic.
Ever since he had a 90-minute heart-to-heart meeting in Tom Izzo's office, Brandon Wood has looked like a new player. He's been doing the little things that help win games, like terrific passes to open shooters and hustle plays on defense. Wood had a beautiful dish to Derrick Nix late in the first half which Nix converted into an easy bucket.
It was nice to see Brandan Kearney and Russell Byrd getting some minutes. Kearney played especially well in his brief time on the floor. This should bode well for future. (And as an aside, has MSU reached its quota of players named "Brandon"--or variations thereof?).
Although Adreian Payne didn't have an especially great game (perhaps coming down a bit after his great performance against OSU), Derrick Nix did, and displayed some great moves in the paint. I love MSU's big men this season.
Keith Appling was brilliant and had one of his best games in at least a couple of weeks, and if Draymond Green isn't college basketball's best player, I'd like to know who is.