Probably the most disappointing season in the Tom Izzo era came to a close for Michigan State. The fans look forward to a year full of fresh faces. We conducted an interview with Pete Rossman from SB Nation's Michigan State blog, The Only Colors. Pete gives us his opinion on the 2010-2011 season and tells us why he thinks the Spartans did not live up to the hype and expectations.
BT Powerhouse: Coming into the 2010-2011 season, Michigan State was ranked second in the country with big expectations. Why didn't Michigan State achieve those expectations in your opinion? Were they the most disappointing team in the nation? or would you give that to someone else?
The Only Colors: Why didn't Michigan State achieve those expectations? One part is that the expectations were too high (if the Spartans lose to Maryland in the second round in 2010, there's no way they're ranked #2), One part Chris Allen's dismissal, another part Korie Lucious's dismissal eroding the backcourt to zero depth, and the last part was inconsistent front court scoring. I'm biased, but it surely felt to me that they were the most disappointing team in the nation.
BT Powerhouse: What was the best win of the 2010-2011 season?
The Only Colors: The win over Purdue in the second round of the Big Ten tournament. I was on the way to Chicago and was frantically trying to switch between MSU and Purdue radio stations, so I wasn't able to see Kalin Lucas's scorching first-half performance. This was the win that essentially secured MSU's berth in the NCAA tournament, and was a bit of a salve to the burns caused by the MSU season.
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BT Powerhouse: What was the worst loss of the 2010-2011 season?
The Only Colors: The loss at Iowa. It was the second game without Korie Lucious, and for the first half the team looked lost. Iowa was not only making its outside shots but scoring inside at will. Even though the Spartans managed to play even the second half, it had me researching mock NIT brackets. I hope it's many, many years before I see a Spartan team give a first-half performance like I saw that night.
BT Powerhouse: What was the biggest surprise of the 2010-2011 season?
The Only Colors: Korie Lucious's dismissal. While Chris Allen leaving was always a possibility during the summer, Lucious's suspension came on a weekday night around 11 PM. Even though he had a bit of a hair trigger and had some absolutely inane turnovers, he also was one of the best two passers on the team and had a nose for the big moment like few athletes I've seen in a Spartan uniform. The team went into a six-game tailspin after he left, and while they eventually rebounded (basketball pun FTW), they weren't quite the same team afterwards -- because they were missing a point guard.
BT Powerhouse: According to ESPN, Michigan State has the 16th-ranked recruiting class next year. Top prospect Brandon Dawson is very big, strong and physical on both ends of the floor. Do you see him making an immediate impact? What other recruits are looking forward to seeing on next years team?
The Only Colors: Branden Dawson will (probably; let's face it we're not clairvoyants) make an immediate impact. He'll provide an immediate boost to Michigan State's rebounding on both ends, and if he can convert that into a bit of offense, that's all the better. If he goes inside that may allow Draymond Green to play outside a bit more, and while that will detract from rebounding a bit, it should free him up to make more assists and threes. I'm also looking forward to see how Travis Trice runs the team as MSU's only true scholarship point guard (Keith Appling is more of a two), and how Brandon Wood (not technically a recruit, but if we haven't seen him in an MSU uniform before, he's new to us!) can fill in as a scorer.
BT Powerhouse: Looking forward to next year, how good to do you think the team will be? Who returns? Who starts? Where do you think they will finish in the Big Ten?
The Only Colors: I'll believe they'll be in the top half of the Big Ten; where they'll be in the top half I have no clue. Keith Appling, Draymond Green and Delvon Roe will start, and if you pressure me, I'd say Derrick Nix and Brandon Wood take the other two starting spots. I think they finish third in the Big Ten - Ohio State will definitely be above them, and a team out of the Wisconsin/Michigan/Purdue(
caveat: Robbie Hummel must have two intact ACLs) will finish above MSU as well.