Senior night was sweet for the Fighting Illini as they were able to capitalize on the mistakes of the Spartans tonight. I had a post ready for the three things to talk about if we won...but we didn’t. So lets dive into some takeaways.
Second Unit Needs To Show Up
Of the 70 points scored by the Spartans tonight, only 14 of those came from the bench. Goins was owned on the defensive side of the ball as he was never really to overcome the size advantage that Morgan had on him and while Matt McQuaid did lead the bench with 6 points he looked nervous dribbling the ball, which is the polar opposite of what he looked like on Sunday vs Wisconsin.
With Harris being out, this is the thing you worry about. Ellis needs to step up and from .3 seconds left in the first half on, he did but it can’t stop there. If this team wants to beat Maryland and get a chance to have a two round bye in the B1G Tourney next week, the guys subbing in have to play some meaningful minutes and that was not the case tonight.
Turnovers = Achilles Heel
In last 2 wins, Michigan state averaged 10 in the entire game. By halftime tonight they already had 9. This is the story with this Michigan State basketball team and something that is going to end up biting them unless they get it fixed soon. The main culprit is Joshua Langford who committed 4 of them in the first half on some plain stupid plays.
The Spartans came into the game ranked next to last in turnover ratio in the conference and it is nights like tonight that just make you shake your head. The Spartans were able to keep it close but with the NCAA tournament far from guaranteed a win like tonight would have helped
This Weekend Is Big
No doubt that a win tonight would have all but sealed the deal for Michigan State to be dancing for the 20th year in a row. Now, I am not claiming to be Bracketologist but I am going to say the Spartans need one more win to ensure they will keep this streak going.
So, the pressure falls on the Spartans to show up big this Saturday in College Park against Maryland. This is a team that has given Michigan State some troubles in the past with Melo Trimble able to take over a game at any moment but if the Spartans head home on Saturday with a win I think it is safe to say they are dancing once more.