Rob Murphy’s Eastern Michigan team had a chance to really shock the world Wednesday night in East Lansing. Coming off a huge win for the program, defeating the University of Michigan, expectations were high to possibly see something that hadn’t happened since 1987. Unfortunately, Murphy’s squad was not able to pull off the upset, but there were some good things to take note of and some not so great.
The Good: The 2-3 Zone still worked as good as one could expect. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo credited it, saying it "could frustrate the [San Antonio] Spurs.” Izzo also had high praise for Murphy’s group.
“Eastern has a chance to do very well in the MAC," Izzo said. "They're going to win a lot of games this year. Really believe that. Well coached. Play hard. Happy for Murph; off to a great start” Murphy has done a phenomenal job teaching his team how to play the zone well and it should continue into MAC play.
The Bad: This could have been a huge step forward for the Eastern Michigan program. It isn’t a devastating loss because, quite frankly, they played an incredibly talented Michigan State team, but you do have to wonder: What if they had won this game?
There are many “what if’s” in this scenario but who know what it could have done to boost the fan attendance numbers up.
The Ugly: Whether it was Michigan State playing fantastic defense or just a lackluster shooting night, the Eagles did not do nearly as well with their offensive game as their defensive. They only shot 22 percent from the field and 18 percent from three. You cannot expect to win a basketball game with that kind of percentage, Murphy even agreed.
“You aren't going to win too many games scoring 40 in Division 1 basketball,” Murphy said. “We had our shots, if you go back and look at the open shots we missed, and open layups we missed, it could have been a different ball game."
Eastern has guys that can shoot, so things should change moving forward. Even Izzo noted the team's promise.
"Their guys like Lee, Talley, Ward and Price can shoot with anybody, he said."
The Eagles end their four game road trip in Springfield, MO when they face Missouri State Dec 20 at 2pm Central time. They then return home and finish up their non-conference schedule with Coppin State Dec. 23 and Concordia Dec. 28.
Follow Andrew Mascharka on Twitter: @amascharka