Spartan Speculations – Black Friday Observations

By: Charles Ranspach

While the madness of Black Friday is probably over by now, let’s recap the madness on the court with the Michigan State Spartans.

MSU played Stony Brook on 11/19 and won 93-71. Nick Ward led all scorers with 22, and the sophomore class of Bridges, Langford and Winston all had double digits.

The big story coming out of this blowout win was the injury to Miles Bridges. If you missed it, he stepped on an opponent’s foot and rolled his ankle causing a sprained ankle. He is currently Day to Day.

The PK80 tournament tipped off this week and Michigan State had one of the latest games I have ever stayed up for against DePaul out in Portland. They won 73-51, but had a scare going into the locker room at halftime 31-31 due to sloppy play (again), foul trouble, and Mile Bridges not playing. I love to say this, Matt Mcquaid led all scorers with a lights-out shooting day with 20. The freshman Jaren Jackson Jr. impressed again, posting a double-double with 13 and 10.

Here are a few observations over the last week:

Miles Bridges is very important:

Yeah yeah yeah, you read that headline and you say “NO DUH!!!”

But seriously think about it, he’s more than just a guy on the court. Anyone can watch Bridges play and understand that he is the best and most important player on the team, but widen your view here. Watching the first half of the DePaul game almost made me resort to pulling out the hair that I have recently begun growing out again. There seemed to be a foul on every play and we were turning the ball over, a lot.

But then you look over at the bench and Bridges has energy, he’s trying to hype his team up, when Connor George (we will get to this in a minute) came in, he looked genuinely happy. You can see how much this team means to Bridges and his attitude going forward will be one of the driving factors towards their success.

MATT FRICKEN MCQUAID!!!!

Finally! (I can hear all you shouting) Finally, we saw what Matt Mcquaid can do.

On a night where he rolled his ankle and had cramps in both legs, McQuaid put up 20 on 6-8 shooting. If you read my last column you will know I said McQuaid was one of the most important players on the team. This team is so light on guards that it needs the ones they have to perform, and man did he perform. If it were not for Mcquaid the Spartans could have been down 7-10 points in the first half. This was the McQuaid we have all waited for, this is the Mcquaid that lit up Kansas in the Champions Classic two years ago.

Hopefully, this wasn’t a one-time thing, because if we have a shooter that is money from behind the arc, this MSU team might be hard to stop.

Who is Connor George:

I’ll admit, when a white guy with the number 41 came onto the court I was very confused. I had no clue who this guy was and had it not been for some poor officiating, we may never have seen him.

But man did the former walk-on take advantage of his playing time. For a team that was getting killed on offensive rebounds, George came in and had five. He played with energy, didn’t commit any turnovers (thank God) and even scored! I know that he probably won’t get much playing time the rest of the season, but he is exactly like one of the players that Tom Izzo loves so much. Play hard and don’t make mistakes. George did that with flying colors last night.

I am sure there is much more to say about this team, but I am going to call it quits here. I may post something Sunday after MSUs last game, but we will see if the long weekend has left me with any energy. Enjoy your Black Friday shopping and try not to get trampled buying that third TV you have no clue where to put in your house.

How Charles dug deep after a Thanksgiving meal, proceeded to stay up past midnight, and get all done is a Miles Bridges type of performance. Couple hours after this post goes live, the Spartans will play the UCONN Huskies and then either North Carolina or Arkansas in their half of the PK80 bracket. 

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