THREE UP OR DOWN: #4/5 MICHIGAN STATE BASKETBALL AFTER 33 GAMES
Three up or down: the three Parts of the #4/5 Michigan State basketball that are trending up or down now.
- Down Slow Starts The Spartans have been plagued by slow starts. As you saw vs. Northwestern, most of the time they have been able to overcome them. As the calendar turns to March that is not the case any longer. This is truly one or done time and any team you play from here on out can beat you. Tom Izzo said, “Now, do we have to get it back on track? Yeah, we do. Cash struggled out here. He’s been playing so good but he struggled out here. And we just had some guys that didn’t do the things they needed to do.”
- DOWN Decision Making The Spartans repeatedly settle for jump shots and that is fine, but they struggled to make them or took poor ones. Michigan had no answers for guys driving to the basket and Michigan State didn’t capitalize. UM simply “sagged” off of Joshua Langford and dared him to shoot. Langford is an incredibly talented game, but to get to the next level he has to drive the ball. If teams sag and he can’t hit the shot he rules himself ineffective. The Spartans need to attack the rim when their shots aren’t going in. Miles Bridges said, “We’ve got to get better chemistry wise on offense. We’ve got to get way better on defense. We were a little too stagnant on defense. One pass, shot. One pass, shot. The whole game.”
- UP The SpartansMSU (29-4) Enough said. After 12 wins in a row and a Spartan basketball regular season record campaign, they faltered. No shame in that. They lost to a great Michigan coach and team. The season is far from over and Izzo has a track record of success when nobody sees it coming. In fact, Izzo said, “But they’ve done the things they’ve needed to do over a long period of time. And I’m going to keep that in mind, not panic over a loss when it’s your rival. It’s always a bigger win when it’s playing for a chance to play in the championship game. Of course, it’s a bigger one. But I’ve got a lot of pride in these guys and what they’ve done and how they’ve worked through some circumstances that had nothing to do with them. And I’m really pleased with that and proud of them, to be honest with you. So we’ll get better. We’ll probably practice a lot during that time. I mean, it will be one time in my life the NCAA has no rules on us. It’s — we’re on break and we don’t have any games. That doesn’t happen very often. In fact, it’s never happened to me. So knowing me, I’m going to take advantage of that.”
EXTRA POINT: Fortitude
With nearly 13 days off before the NCAA tournament, Joshua Langford said, “What we’re going to do is just put our heads down and get better and work. It’s something we always do. I feel like this team learns from our failures and learns from our mistakes.” No entitlement to this team. Great kids with great fortitude.
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