By: Chuck Ranspach
Let’s just get the mundane part out of the way real quick. MSU went into the Barn and throttled a team that, at the beginning of the year looked to be a contender.
At the start of the season, this game looked like it may be the biggest game of the season…well not so much. I have never seen the type of three-point shooting before from this team and I’ll say it again, Jaren Jackson JR. Is the REAL DEAL.
To me the biggest story of the game was the fact that we won by 30 and Miles Bridges was barely involved.
Ok, now that that is out of the way.
WHAT DID WE JUST WITNESS!?!?!?
The only comeback that I can remember feeling this same way was MSU’s epic comeback in the Cotton Bowl against Baylor a few years ago.
Watching the game I thought to myself, “here we go, the karma gods have hit us, no team deserves to shoot that well in one game. We deserve this.”
Going into halftime I was ready to lay down on the couch and get a great mid-Saturday afternoon nap before I focused on some Olympic Men’s Short Track later that day.
Cash Winston helped bring MSU back from the brink and keep their outright Big Ten champ hopes alive.
This game proves a few things about this team that bode well leading into March.
They can win any way that is needed:
Any great team can survive a point in the game where it just isn’t going right.
Now let’s be clear, this weekend was a rare occasion. The biggest comeback in MSU history, the biggest comeback in the nation in the past 10 years, and the 5th biggest comeback of all time. But, the last 5 games have been an example of the types of ways great teams win. This comeback puts an exclamation point on this. Whether it be needing to hit free throws late to seal a victory, blowing out the opponent, or coming back from the brink. This team has the ability to do anything. With Izzo so great at the short prep period in the tourney, MSU will be a heavy favorite, nothing has changed. I just now have more confidence.
The upperclassmen are seldom praised but often pivotal:
Players like Mcquaid, Schilling, Goins, Tum Tum and Ben Carter may not get all of the headlines, but they sure are proving to be huge pieces of the puzzle. I have always been critical of the way Izzo subs, but seeing the way we were so much fresher than NW, maybe I am wrong. What a surprise, between me or Tom Izzo, I am the one that is wrong; the guy who only played 4 years of Rec ball.
Mcquaid is hitting shots when we need him too, Schilling is playing great defensively, Goins is filling holes, and Tum is leading off the court and giving Cash the spells he needs. Don’t sleep on Ben Carter either, I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a huge play in the tourney. Upperclassmen seem to do that sorta thing.
The basics matter:
Flashiness is fun, high-flying play is great, but give me minimal turnovers and 85 percent from the line and I am a happy camper.
It seems dumb to say it, but we win when we take care of the ball and make the other team turn it over. One huge thing in the comeback was the fact that turnovers were almost non-existent.
Another part of this team that may be forgotten about is the fact that they are fantastic from the free stripe. Izzo has the luxury of being able to throw in five 75 percent or better shooters at the end of the game. This brings confidence in a tight game where all you need is to hit your free throws.
Miles Bridges coming into the game and making four free throws at the end of a game where he barely played is just one example of the type of shooters we have on this team.
They are feeling their greatness and peaking at just the right time.