Hoops Notes: Langford update, preparing for Purdue
Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo previewed the No. 6 Spartans (13-2, 4-0 in Big Ten) hosting Purdue (9-5, 2-1 in Big Ten) and what the fans should expect Tuesday night.
He began the press conference by updating the status of junior shooting guard Joshua Langford, who will miss Tuesday night’s clash with a left ankle injury. Izzo said though there are positive signs, he is not expected back for at least another week, after treatment and rest.
Junior guard Cassius Winston discussed how the absence of Langford affects the team’s rotation and who will have to fill in his shoes.
“Everybody’s gotta step up a little bit more,” Winston said. “McQuaid might not be able to back me up, so Foster will have to come in and play more minutes, which he’s been doing a good job of. And I just gotta suck it up and play a little bit more minutes, gotta win games, whatever you do to win basketball games. ... but we gotta hold it down until he gets back.”
Izzo discussed the opponent, talking specifically about Boilermaker junior point guard Carsen Edwards, the preseason Big Ten player of the year, who Izzo called “perhaps the best player in college basketball."
“Carsen Edwards has taken his game from good to great last year and he’s taken it from great to elite this year,” Izzo said. “(To) average 25 and five this day and age in a major college is not the norm. He leads the Big Ten in three-point shooting. He’s just a bigger Tum Tum with a lot different jump shot.”
Senior guard Matt McQuaid has been touted as perhaps the Spartans’ best perimeter defender, so Izzo was asked if he will draw the difficult assignment of slowing down Edwards.
“I mean, I haven't seen a kid that’s done what he’s done," Izzo said. "We’re not gonna stop him. I think two teams have held him under 20... But Matt (McQuaid) will definitely start on him, and then we’ll have some variety of guys – and some of those freshmen are gonna have to get their feet wet in the Big Ten pretty quick.”
Against Ohio State, Winston played more off the ball, and Izzo was asked if that trend will continue going forward.
“I’m just trying to move him around a little bit for a couple of reasons," Izzo said. "One, because he’s really good at it. And two, to kind of bring him at people from a different angle, a different side. Three would be to try and get him off the point once in a while."
After Winston, Tillman was asked about how to stop his own tough assignment: Purdue’s Dutch center Matt Haarms.
“He’s a big guy, 7 (feet), 3 (inches), 250 (lbs.), so get him as far away from the block as we can, and know his tendencies,” Tillman said. “Like we know he likes to use his left hand to go over his right shoulder and go to the jump hook, so we stay solid and don’t foul. Don’t fall for any of his fakes and keep him away from the basket as best we can, we should be able to contain him.”
The Spartans and Boilermakers tip off 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Breslin Center on ESPN2.