Langford To Sit Out At Penn State - What It Means...

Langford To Sit Out At Penn State - What It Means...

Basketball

Langford To Sit Out At Penn State - What It Means...

Michigan State will be without Joshua Langford for its trip to Penn State on Sunday.  What does the absence mean for the Spartans?

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When Spartan swingman Joshua Langford injured his ankle a couple of weeks ago, it sounded like the thought was that he’d be out of the lineup for a game or two.

Langford will miss his fourth straight game by sitting out on Sunday when the streaking Spartans head to Happy Valley to face Penn State, a team that’s winless in the Big Ten.

Penn State defeated Virginia Tech – currently #7 in the Coaches Poll and #9 in the AP Poll) 63-62 earlier this season but the Lions have stumbled out of the Big Ten gate.

Last season, Pat Chambers led Penn State to the NIT Championship and there was a fair amount of excitement about a run at the top tier of the Big Ten and an NCAA Tournament berth but Chambers and the Lions are 7-9 overall and 0-5 in the conference.

Chambers got caught in a little kerfuffle when he was suspended by Penn State University for shoving of one of his players during a timeout against Michigan.

That’s over and done with for Chambers and the Lions and Penn State has played teams tough – but this is, once again, a game that Michigan State should win.

So, with Langford – and, possibly Kyle Ahrens – out again due to the injury, is there an opportunity for more than just a victory on Sunday?

Yes – enter Aaron Henry and Gabe Brown.

Aaron Henry played some terrific defense on Purdue’s Carsen Edwards earlier this week in 22 minutes of strong play that came after a strong performance in Columbus during the 86-77 win over the Buckeyes.

Gabe Brown contributed only four minutes Tuesday night in the 77-59 win over Purdue but he looked good and drained his only 3-point attempt.

With Langford – and possibly Ahrens – missing time, the Spartans have a perfect opportunity to give Henry and Brown more valuable game experience.

Michigan State hasn’t missed a beat while Langford has been sidelined – in fact, the Spartans’ points per game average has increased and the team defense has only gotten better, statistically.

That’s a testament, of course, to Tom Izzo’s constant emphasis on player development and rotation evolution.

Make no mistake – Michigan State needs a healthy Langford and a healthy Ahrens in order to achieve the biggest of goals that the team has.

But their absences may end up proving to be meaningful due to the way other players are being forced to develop and bring their A-games every night.

Aaron Henry and Gabe Brown appear to be next up in terms of guys who can become a major part of the growth of this team as it continues to march its way through the Big Ten gauntlet.

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