Izzo is still work­ing out ro­ta­tion

Bridges gets rest early while Carter, Schilling see some play­ing time

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY MATT CHARBONEAU The Detroit News mchar­boneau@de­troit­news.com twit­ter.com/mattchar­boneau

— It’s not as if Michi­gan State coach Tom Izzo has ever felt great about any of his team’s ro­ta­tions in the first week of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

And head­ing into Tues­day night’s matchup with No. 1 Duke in the Cham­pi­ons Clas­sic at the United Cen­ter, the ro­ta­tion was clearly still a work in progress. That’s some­thing Izzo and his staff ex­pected early this sea­son as the Spar­tans can go 11 deep — 12 if ju­nior guard Kyle Ahrens re­turns at some point this sea­son from a foot in­jury.

But Fri­day’s vic­tory over North Florida in the reg­u­lar-sea­son opener at least of­fered a chance to do some tin­ker­ing, in­clud­ing sub­bing for for­ward Miles Bridges in the first few min­utes.

“The first half we thought we did a very good job,” Izzo said. “We tried to get Miles out early, make sure we get him some kind of rest and then get on a ro­ta­tion. We looked at back in the day when we scripted it more be­fore. That worked a lit­tle bit.

“But it will be five, six, seven games yet be­fore we re­ally know where (Ben) Carter and even Kenny Goins and (Gavin) Schilling are. And that’s go­ing to change our ro­ta­tion a lit­tle bit. Try­ing to play Ben at the four a lit­tle and we’re try­ing to play Kenny at the three a lit­tle bit with the in­jury to Kyle, so that’s changed it a lit­tle bit, too. But I don’t think our ro­ta­tion’s gonna be where I would like it for a cou­ple of weeks yet.”

Izzo is do­ing his best to not wear out Bridges, some­thing that can be easy to do when he’s the best player on the floor. In the ex­hi­bi­tion win over Georgia, Bridges played 36 min­utes, a num­ber Izzo deemed too high.

Against North Florida, no player got 30 min­utes. That’s ideal but prob­a­bly not prac­ti­cal against some of the bet­ter com­pe­ti­tion, as Izzo and his staff tried to work Bridges in with sev­eral dif­fer­ent line­ups.

“That was the first time we re­ally tried to do that, to get him out early just be­cause we’ve made him go such long stretches,” Izzo said. “We’re go­ing to try to use those time­outs a lit­tle bit where he still might play a lot of min­utes, but some­times it’s easier said than done. We tried to do that against Georgia, and then (Matt) McQuaid and (Joshua) Lang­ford got into foul trouble.

“I think Miles has ac­cepted just about any­thing we’ve asked him to do, and we’ll take a look at that as time goes on. But if we keep tak­ing him out right then, and then get­ting him a few min­utes, in­clud­ing the 16-minute time­out and then we can rest him some around the eight- or 10minute mark, that’s what we’re go­ing to try to look to do. See if we can get him more rest time with­out less min­utes.”

Michi­gan State has played its share of games at the United Cen­ter, com­pil­ing a 14-8 record, in­clud­ing an 11-7 mark in the Big Ten tour­na­ment. The Spar­tans’ last two Cham­pi­ons Clas­sic wins also came in Chicago — a 79-73 win over Kansas in 2015 and a 78-74 vic­tory over Ken­tucky in 2013

Izzo is hop­ing Michi­gan State’s large alumni base will over­come the fact Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is a na­tive of the Windy City.

“We have a lot of alums there, al­though Mike’s from there so maybe he’ll have his whole fam­ily and it’ll make a dif­fer­ence, I don’t know,” Izzo said. “There’s no ques­tion that all four teams will be well-rep­re­sented in Chicago. No knowl­edge of this, but I’d be will­ing to bet we prob­a­bly have more alums than any of them just be­cause of the num­ber of alums we have and the fact that Chicago is a place were a lot of our alums end up.”

Charles Rex Arbogast/As­so­ci­ated Press

Duke guard Gary Trent Jr., who was re­cruited by the Spar­tans, shoots over Michi­gan State’s Miles Bridges dur­ing the first half.

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