Defensive Score Sheet: Michigan State 80, Harvard 73

The first Tom Izzo-Tommy Amaker battle since 1997 was just that - a battle until the bitter end.

For the second-straight tournament game the Spartans allowed more than 1 PPP to their opponent, something I'm sure Tom Izzo was not happy with. Still, for the second-straight game the Spartans survived and advanced.

Here's MSU's defensive score sheet from Saturday's 80-73 MSU victory:


  • Another game and another "plus" defensive game from Kenny Kaminski. Again, anything he gives MSU defensively is a bonus, especially if he's hitting a 3-pointer or two. He only played nine minutes but a pair of forced misses to go with 0.5 turnovers forced is more than acceptable. 
  • Gary Harris struggled for the Spartans. He wasn't terrible (a 105.7 DRtg vs. a 104.4 for MSU is fairly close) but he needs to be a defensive stopper if the Spartans want to be considered a serious national title threat. This type of games (three allowed makes, two free throws allowed and just one defensive board in 38 minutes) is just not going to cut it.

  • Early in the season I was a big fan of Alvin Ellis' defense. He's either a little timid during the NCAA Tournament or opposing coaches are focusing on exploiting his weaknesses with one-on-one matchups when he enters the game. His DRtg was 114.5 compared to MSU's 103.4 against Delaware (-11.1) and, albeit in limited action, was 133.0 vs MSU's 104.4 as a team against Harvard (-28.6). I suppose re-looking at the MSU games I've charted this season Ellis has always been a liability. Maybe it was his superb effort in MSU's 60-58 loss at Wisconsin in early February (He had a +6.1 DRtg thanks to his 90.5 clip compared to MSU's 96.6).
The Defensive Score Sheet Project's initial explanation is here. More concise explanations are in this post, but here is a short rundown:
  • Min - Minutes played
  • DREB - Defensive Rebounds
  • FM - Forced field goal miss (includes blocks)
  • FTO - Forced Turnover (steals, charges taken)
  • FFTA - Forced missed Free Throw Attempt
  • DFGM - Allowed Defensive Field Goal Made
  • DFTM - Allowed Free Throw Made
  • DRtg - Defensive Rating (Gives players credit for stops and scoring possessions)
*The DRtg is most important part of a defensive score sheet as it is the analog of an offensive rating. If a player was on the floor for 100 of his team's defensive possessions, the DRtg calculates the number of points the opposition would score.

[NOTE: Deuce2Sports' defensive charting has been noted on Sports Illustrated's Web site twice this season by college basketball writer Luke Winn.]