Tom Izzo Dared Kansas' Udoka Azubuike To Beat Him, And He Did

Tom Izzo Dared Kansas' Udoka Azubuike To Beat Him, And He Did

NCAAB

Tom Izzo Dared Kansas' Udoka Azubuike To Beat Him, And He Did

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike isn’t the most gifted offensive player in the country, but he’s so massive that he’s a lot to deal with nonetheless. Most opposing coaches choose to double team Azubuike, and it’s a pretty good strategy, because he’s not a great passer.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo chose instead to leave a series of defenders helplessly alone on the 7-foot-1, 270 pound “Doke,” who responded by completing dominating those men, scoring 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting to go with four blocked shots in 92-87 win for No. 1 Kansas over No. 10 Michigan State that the Jayhawks otherwise would have lost.

Kansas’ presumed best player, Dedric Lawson, had 20 points and 14 rebounds, but shot 5-for-18 from the field. Quentin Grimes hit six 3-pointers, scoring 21, and Devon Dotson scored 16.

But the Jayhawks only shot 45 percent from the field, and blew double-digit leads in both halves to set up a tense final three minutes.

And it wasn’t until about that time that Michigan State finally started double teaming and denying Azubuike. Had the Spartans gone to that defense a little earlier, they might have won the game … or Lawson, Grimes and Dotson might have carved them up some other way.

Izzo’s idea wasn’t a bad one. Against a team as loaded as KU, especially one with Lawson at the 4, you can see why a guy might take his chances letting Azubuike take a bunch of shots.

But Tuesday night, Azubuike scored on an up-and-under, he scored with a drop step, he scored on a hook shot, he scored with both hands, he drew a bunch of fouls and he even made a few free throws.

And that’s why Kansas is No. 1.

 

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