By: Chuck Ranspach
13 games in a row….
MSU had won 13 games in a row leading into that dang semi-final game of the B1G Tournament. A chance to get revenge on the last team to beat us plus beating your bitter rival….
What more could you need to get up for a game?
Apparently more than that.
MSU came out flat and seemingly uninterested, against Michigan and Wisconsin, for that matter. They played one of their worst games of the season (vs. Michigan) at a point when they really needed wins to build their #1 seed resume.
Had MSU won the B1G Tournament, it would have been hard to keep them off of the 1 line, but that is all off the table and arguably the team looks like a team that should be on the 3 line.
There was a lot to pick apart from this game, but the things that stand out the most would be the poor shooting (38%) and the poor perimeter defense both of which the Spartans were locked in at certain points of the year.
It’s crazy to think that this team hasn’t peaked yet, but honestly I don’t think that they have, they have yet to put together a full 40 minutes because of:
If MSU is going to do what they are expected to do this season, they need to stop running into ruts during games. Every game in the 13 game winning streak, other than maybe Minnesota and Illinois, there seemed to be a point of the game where nothing was going right. Whether it be shooting, turnovers, or lack of stingy defense, the ruts always seem to be there. None of them more evident than the one that started the game against NW. The NW game was the epitome of this season and this team. Will we see the MSU team that played the first half (full or awful shooting and turnovers) or the second half (where NW couldn’t get a clean look)?
Now, I understand it is hard to look great all the time against a league that knows you so well, so let’s hope that the tourney allows Izzo and his team to shine.
This is the last time I’ll bring it up, but the fact that my first post and this post have the same problem shows that it really is a problem. Right now MSU has a negative turnover Margin (something like -3). For a team that leads the country in assists, that is just totally unacceptable.
And it’s not like they are forced turnovers. A lot come from dumb passes trying to get up the court to fast or offensive fouls caused by poor positioning. The amount of times Nick Ward has been called for a illegal screen is mind numbing. This is where the team looks young and it needs to stop, even though it won’t. I can’t imagine going up against a team like West Virginia or Virginia, scary thought.
WHERE HAS JOSHUA LANGFORD GONE?
Langford seemed to be a player that was going to play a key role during this season. His games against North Carolina and Notre Dame set him up to have a great season.
As the calendar turned to 2018 though, the story changed. All of a sudden the deadly shooter that seemed to not be able to miss cant seem to buy a bucket recently. Luckily, Mcquaid has filled in nicely (just imagine if both could pull it off in the same game!?!?!). The problem with Langford is he is settling too much for a shot that is ineffective. He either needs to step back and shoot from three, where is has been deadly, or try to drive with a quick cut and either get to the basket or make a pass to the open man. This team could go to another level if Langford is on. Hopefully this time off before the tourament will allow Izzo to work with langford and find more ways for him to be involved in the offense. Langford will be a x-factor during the tournament, lets just hope it is a good one.
MSU can be great and I am still taking them to the championship game. They just have too many pieces that make for a championship team. This two weeks off will be the best thing for them and they may come out rusty against a 15-seed (dont even think about it!!!!!) but will dust that rust off and make a deep run.
Make sure to check out the Medium Rare College Basketball podcast on soundcloud and ITunes and make sure to follow us on twitter @MediumRareBBall.