I've been wrapped up in non-sports aspects of life for the last week, so haven't been quite as tuned into Michigan State basketball as usual.
I'm happy that the Spartans have bounced back after the heartbreaking loss against Maryland and have proven, once again, that the college basketball season is a process. Teams gel and evolve over the course of a season and it makes no sense for fans or the media to declare the sky is falling after a few early losses. Now, this is not to say that the Spartans will suddenly embark on an unstoppable roll and sweep their way to a Big Ten title. There will probably still be bumps and bruises along the way, but the team is healthier now than they were against Texas Southern and Maryland and the players all appear to be understanding their roles. Though it's not outside the realm of possibility, I don't see a conference title for the Spartans this season but a finish in the upper half of the Big Ten is extremely probable.
Travis Trice was on fire last night against Iowa. The guy was completely unconscious, particularly in the second half where it looked like he could have shot the ball behind his back and hit nothing but net. He had a shooting game that wasn't too far removed from the nights Scott Skiles and Shawn Respert had in their days. But it isn't just great shooting with Trice, he makes loads of hustle plays that don't make the stat sheet, like sprinting down the court and coming out of nowhere to contest what at first appears to be an easy layup for the opponent.
Denzel Valentine and Matt Costello both played among their best games of the seasons, and as challenged as Branden Dawson sometimes appears when it comes to getting the ball in the whole, few players in the game play defense or rebound as well as Dawson.
This is not a great Tom Izzo team right now, but it has the potential to do some special things this season. We as fans just need to have the patience to bear with the occasional detours on the way to a possibly splendid year.