It’s really scary to think that just a few weeks ago, many people questioned whether this Michigan State team was starting to fade.
It was after the losses to Iowa, Wisconsin and Nebraska – particularly the latter two – where the panic button was getting dusted off, if not fully pressed.
This is an entirely different Michigan State team – a more mature Michigan State team – that took on the Badgers in Thursday’s rematch.
In the first matchup, MSU got buried by Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes. The two scored 27 and 25, respectively, en route to the stunning Wisconsin win.
Not Thursday night. MSU shut the two Badger standouts down, limiting Koenig to just 12 points while holding Hayes to five points on an abysmal 1-for-13 shooting.
On the Spartans’ end, it was a little bit of the same – 24 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds from Denzel Valentine – and a little bit of a twist.
Matt Costello wasn’t nearly as active as he had been in previous contests, but the guard play – 17 points from Bryn Harris and 10 points from Eron Harris.
Wisconsin made a run late in the first half, but this was MSU’s game from the tip. This isn’t like the games against Northwestern and Rutgers – although Wisconsin is down this year, it is still a quality opponent. They proved that in Madison earlier this year.
The Big Ten has been tricky this year, but with four games left, it sure looks like the team is peaking while clearing some of its biggest hurdles.