The fact that Michigan State lost to Miami in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge this week is a little surprising. The Spartans had been on a roll, winning five consecutive games, including one over Kansas in Atlanta.
But they didn’t have an answer for the Hurricanes, struggling to run their half-court offense in a 67-59 loss on the road.
The Spartans, ranked No. 13 in the nation, hit a season-low in points and went nearly six minutes without a field goal as the Hurricanes gave themselves a little breathing room.
Typically, it’s the Spartans that play the airtight defense and limit opportunities for opponents. They are usually one of the more consistent teams in the country on the defensive end of the floor.
Still, even with the loss, which drops the Spartans to 5-2, I don’t think anyone has a reason to panic in East Lansing.
Michigan State has lost both of its games by less than 10 points, and that is something to keep in mind going forward. No matter who the Spartans are playing, they are going to be tough to beat.
The Spartans still have Tom Izzo as their coach and they have the talent to be successful.
Keith Appling, who scored 15 points against the Hurricanes, is averaging 16.6 points per outing. Gary Harris, who is healthy again, is clicking for 12 points per game. Branden Dawson is pumping in 11.3 ppg, while Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix are averaging 7.3 points per tilt.
The Spartans are going to be fine. They will get on a roll again, contend in the Big Ten and work their way into the NCAA tournament.
In the long run, a loss to Miami isn’t going to matter at all.
Brian Lester is a featured Big Ten columnist and college basketball writer for Rant Sports. He is a member of the United States Basketball Writers Association as well.
Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.