Michigan State’s basketball team has made the NCAA tournament 12 straight times, which is the third longest active streak in division one. Since college students have been old enough to remember the MSU program, they have viewed them as a powerhouse that is a forgone conclusion to make the tournament and make a run in March.
After a home loss to Michigan, State’s record fell to 12-8. Most of their losses have come against tough opponents, but with losses to Penn State and U of M, people are questioning whether this team will make the NCAA tournament. It is unfamiliar territory for Tom Izzo and Michigan State fans.
Michigan has not won at the Breslin Center since 1997, and quite frankly, they deserved this victory. They were hungrier than the Spartans were, and played a much more sound game.
KEYS TO THE GAME
- Michigan State has been atrocious at defending the three-point line the last few games. Michigan relies heavily on the three-point shot, and was 10-21 from behind the arc. At the same time, MSU settled for too many three pointers and refused to pound the ball down low. For much of the game, Zack Novak, who is 6-4, was guarding Delvon Roe or Draymond Green in the post. State should have exploited this mismatch by pounding the ball down low. MSU did not look to the post nearly enough, and had trouble making sound post entries to give their players good position. They once again settled for two many threes despite having a massive size advantage, and it killed them this game. State was 5-19 from deep, which is far too many shots, and a very low percentage.
- State was out-rebounded 28-27. As a team that prides itself on being one of the country’s leaders in rebounding margin year-in and year-out, it is embarrassing to be out-rebounded by a vastly undersized team on their home court.
- Delvon Roe mentioned in his post-game quotes that Michigan wanted it more. State was out-hustled in this game, and it is completely unacceptable. Michigan was tougher on the glass, and came up with a ton of loose balls. Tom Izzo needs to find a way to motivate this team. Maybe the threat of not making the NCAA tournament will inspire a little panic in the squad.