Tom Izzo compared Northern Iowa to Wisconsin. It’s a very valid comparison to a team that is the epitome of Big Ten basketball.
Northern Iowa only averages about 64 points a game, 10 less than the Spartans, but they allow their opponents only 55 points. UNI averages about 50 shots a game, being very deliberate in their offense and controlling the clock. The Spartans must be defensively sound, and not allow second shot oppotunities. MSU has relied heavily on rebounding. They are facing a team Friday that can challenge them in that department.
Should the Spartans find themselves in an early hole, it will be very difficult to come back against this team, especially lacking their premiere scorer in Kalin Lucas. For the boys in green to win, they must make it a defensive struggle. Should they be able to control things on the defensive end, it will get easier offensively. UNI does not like to run, as they are a deliberate, methodical, and banging team.
KEY Tom Izzo’s key to the game was getting to the free throw line. The Spartans are shooting 80% from the line over the course of 30 games. We all know the best part of free throws…you can’t defend them.
KEY Korie Lucious must manage the game. When the Spartans limit their turnovers, they win. Giving free points to a team that is stout on defense, and offensively challenged, is not an option.
Limit turnovers, rebound, and get to the free throw line. Sounds like the keys to any basketball game, but against a cinderella like UNI, it’s all the more important.