Sunday, February 17, 2013
Michigan State set up for a fall?
By Matt Giles
We have been interested in Michigan State's defensive profile for some time. As detailed by John Gasaway, the Spartans are allowing just .98 points per possession, a solid but hardly overwhelming defensive efficiency rate. And while Michigan State is performing customarily in several aspects -- only one other Big Ten team keeps foes off the glass as well, and the Spartans force a turnover on roughly 20 percent of their possessions -- it is somewhat shocking how easy teams are scoring within the arc.
Opposing conference teams are converting 48 percent of their twos -- the league's ninth-worst two-point defensive percentage. The percentage was closer to 50 percent, but Michigan State's absolute blanketing of Michigan helped lower the rate. So why the defensive let-downs in Lansing? It starts with the Spartans' struggles in pick and roll defense. Per Synergy Sports Technology, teams are using a pick and roll on roughly 15 percent of their offensive possessions, and while they are scoring .71 PPP, certain MSU players are having a tough time containing the ballhandler. The best Spartan, though, in these scenarios is Gary Harris, a freshman with the speed to get over screens but also the length to disrupt shooters if he goes under.