One reason the Michigan State Spartans are considered a big favorite to win the national title in college basketball this season is directly correlated to their depth, particularly in the frontcourt. Head coach Tom Izzo has the ability to shuffle his big men in and out at will and keep bodies fresh.
However, Izzo will be minus one big man for a couple weeks. Junior forward Kenny Goins will reportedly miss “a couple weeks” do to a mild knee sprain.
Kenny Goins will be out of action for a couple weeks after suffering a mild sprain of his left knee.
— Spartan Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) November 16, 2017
The redshirt junior and former walk-on Goins has been an adequate man off the bench for Tom Izzo through his first two seasons in East Lansing, averaging nearly 3.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in roughly 15 minutes of game time action. He saw a considerable uptick in playing time a year ago as a sophomore, playing on average better than 18 minutes per contest, largely due to Michigan State’s depleted frontcourt depth.
The Troy, Michigan native and Waterford Mott High School product has dealt with injury problems before in the same knee. He missed time as a freshman in 2015-16 then again dealt with something similar in the NCAA Tournament this past spring.
While Izzo would love to have every player at his disposal, this is much more manageable this year as opposed to last. The Hall of Fame head coach says a number of guys will benefit from Goins’ absence on the floor.
“What it means is a little bit more out of (Ben) Carter, but we’re still going to be limited in how much we can play him,” Izzo said. “But I think it gives a little bit more of a chance to Gavin (Schilling) if he stays out of foul trouble and Xavier (Tillman) — this is Xavier’s chance to move up a little bit.”
Izzo also expressed deep sympathy for Goins and his work ethic since joining the program.
“I just feel bad for the kid,” Izzo said. “He worked so hard to get back. But this isn’t anything that’s going to set him back, back. It’s just going to delay him for a few days, and hopefully we get through all these games.”
Michigan State has five games in a span of two weeks (from Thursday, 11/16), highlighted by the PK80-Phil Knight Invitational out in Portland during Thanksgiving weekend. The Spartans will take the floor next on Sunday (11/19) at home against Stony Brook.
MSU is also without junior guard/forward Kyle Ahrens, who could miss much of if not the entire season with a foot injury.