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March 22, 2012

Going big

If you missed it or you just want to relive the special times we had, here's the chat replay. And there's more to read, including a story on what MSU has done to surpass expectations and change its reputation this season. Having this kind of talent inside and using it to this extent is the only thing I can come up with to explain how a team without a fleet of great shooters shoots so well.

    And the big-big pick and roll? Lots of fun to watch. Can't be fun to defend.

    "Me and Derrick, the way he rolls, he carves out so much space when he rolls," Green said.
"Sometimes people used to switch it.  If they switch it, I can break their big down.  If they don't switch it, they're going to get enough screen where my man isn't going to get over it anyway.
I think that is something that works out pretty good for us.  Of course, teams are trying to figure out how to guard it.  There's so many options off it.  People don't pay attention to it.  The guards are still involved if needed.  We've just been getting to the first option off of it. I think that is something great for us.  A lot of teams probably will struggle with that."

    Tonight will see an interesting matchup between Paynix and Gorgui Dieng. He's built like Payne and also has some skill. And 116 blocked shots. And Dieng is the guy who calls out the switches between man and zone when he's on the floor.

    “He’s real athletic, like myself," Payne said. "He blocks shots. He gets in foul trouble, like I do. Earlier in the year, like I used to. He does remind of myself a little bit.”

    All three guys gave credit to Dwayne Stephens for helping them develop. Before MSU started going inside, it had to have a reason.

    "He started working on some skills with me, whether it was changing my jump shot, he had a big, large, impact on me, the way I shoot it, getting the ball away from my body and helping me out with my jump shot," Green said of Stephens, who was a pretty good pick-and-pop forward with a pretty nice fade back in the early '90s. "And then he kept telling me, keep working on your ball handling. He showed me a few post moves. And the different things he did with me helped my versatility."

    And Nix and Payne obviously are much better in a lot of ways this season than they were last season. Getting better by the month, it seems. It'll be interesting to see what Louisville does to take them away. I expect every MSU opponent from now on to sacrifice something else (Rick Majerus gave up guarding Keith Appling) to commit more bodies to the interior.

    The main body on Green will be a freshman and former McDonald's All-American who wants to deny him the ball. On the other end, Appling faces a lot of speed in Siva. But I like the Spartans to advance. I also like this Rod Sanford photo gallery.

    Gary Harris is honored in Indiana, and Matt Costello is Michigan's Gatorade Player of the Year for the second straight year.

    On the Louisville side of things, Eric Crawford looks at the Cardinals' late-season turnaround. And Cards fan Tom Heiser thinks back on that "gloomy day" in 2009.




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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter

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