Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo Talks Spartan Basketball, Illinois, Branden Dawson’s Health and More!
Well for those of you that are privileged enough to show up at practice today, you are going to get to see something that we haven’t seen since January: and that is everyone practicing. Dawson is supposed to practice full tonight. He has had a couple (practices) doing some of the stuff, but he should practice 90% full tonight. The good news is that when we play this weekend it is March. The battle cry to my team is that we have had the week off, chance to improve ourselves a little bit and spent two days doing nothing but work on Michigan State.
With all that they have been through I think it is time to start looking forward and I think that is hard to do. You know when you come off of a loss, but that is what we are gonna do. We are going to concentrate now what we can control and that is about it. It will be as together as we have been probably since December second or third. Even Harris was hurt back then and I think after the fourth and we didn’t even have Costello and the first or second. It’s been a long time.
Even though Dawson has been limited in practice at least we have had some time to work on our sets or timing issues that are so hard and that is what is probably going to take the most time. But the bye week really does give us the time to freshen up and sharpen up our things.
If I had to look at what we have to improve the most on, playing together would be and you think of that offensively, but defensively we have not been as good. I think part of that reason is that we just keep changing those lineups. The hardest thing has been our ball screen defense and I don’t think that has been very good. I think that is in part because we are trying to adjust to different players and people.
As far as Illinois goes, they have won two in a row. They changed their lineup four or five games ago, added a couple, one freshman for sure and he’s been averaging 13 a game, a kid named Nunn who we recruited a little bit out of Simeon. He is a good good player. He is athletic, can shoot threes and is athletic as any player they have on the team. They have also improved defensively especially in points allowed. Now giving up under fifty in the last three games. Defensively they have gotten better and I think that is what has helped them win games. We beat them earlier in the year down there. They are a different team, we are a different team and I am looking forward to getting everyone back.
I would say this about Dawson before you ask questions. He is going to play with a little bit of a brace on. It doesn’t seem like it affects a lot of things, but it is there. How much will I play him? I have no clue, but I may know more about that today and tomorrow. But like Morris Peterson, he’s gonna have to defend and rebound to play. Because it’s not like he can’t shoot but it’s never been one of his strengths and it’s not something that I think will come back immediately, as we’ve learned with Appling. It’s a process that’s a two, three week. I will say this: Last couple days, he has shot the ball at least better than he was shooting it. So there’s some encouragement in that improvement, and that’s what I’m hoping for Dawson as time goes on.