Friday, April 3, 2009
Michigan State looks familiar to UConn
DETROIT -- When Connecticut players watched film of Michigan State's games earlier this week, the Huskies saw an all-too-familiar sight.
The Spartans looked a lot like many of the Big East teams the Huskies battled for 19 weeks this season.
"I think we're much more mirror images of each other than people realize," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said Friday. "Michigan State can go into the Big East tomorrow and fit right in because they're going to be like Pittsburgh, a lot of teams in our league. [They] bang you on the boards and were No. 1 in the country. They're going to run as tight of sets as you're going to see offensively."
Calhoun said he and his coaches tried to break down the offensive sets the Spartans ran this season.
"We went over 15 different plays and finally gave up," Calhoun said. "We had 85 more to go. [MSU coach Tom Izzo] runs so many different offenses. They play great defense. They prevent you from running. I say they're a real sneaky fast-break team, because of the way they play. They're a much better fast-break team than people realize."
Huskies forward Jeff Adrien said he was expecting to see more of a slower, methodical, half-court team when he watched MSU highlights.
"They're a different style of team," Adrien said. "They're different from the other Big Ten schools. They like to run and they rebound. They're very physical. I think that's really why they won the Big Ten this year, because of their different style. The Big Ten is traditionally a slow conference, but they're able to play all different types of games. That's very impressive."
The only film the Huskies needed to watch was from Michigan State's last game: a 64-52 upset of No. 1 seed Louisville, the Big East regular-season and tournament champion.