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Three Takeaways from Michigan State’s 78-51 Big Ten Tournament Victory Over Penn State

Michigan State breaks the slump, owns the game from start to finish.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Michigan State vs Penn State Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Well that is a fun way to start the weekend!

A complete and total departure from the Spartans first meeting with Penn State this season, the Spartans looked clean and tight. All signs are good so let’s not waste time and dive right in.

Focus. Focus. Focus.

I can honestly say that this is the most focused I have seen this team all season. Sure, we won tough games over Wisconsin and Minnesota this year but if you want to take a full 40 minute look at the game the ENTIRE team was locked in. Stupid mistakes seemed to limit themselves to the moment and aside from a slight slow start and a 3-4 minute scoreless stretch in the second half, this team was locked in.

While Bridges, Langford, and Ward led the team in scoring, every Spartan (aside from Tum Tum and Van Dyk) put the ball in the basket. SHOUT OUT TO CONNOR GEORGE. Ahrens was having fun and getting shots, McQuaid looked confident from behind the arc, Goins was mask-less and playing his typical solid defense. The team only turned the ball over 10 times (a HUGE improvement from the Maryland and Illinois games) and the line changes Izzo has been tweaking all year seemed to work. It was good basketball and that is a wonderful thing.

Big Puddin’ Was Inspired

Early this week when asked Nick Ward admitted it bothered him that he was not selected to the Big Ten All-Freshman team. While we all agreed it was a Big Puddin’ sized snub to leave him off the team, I had a thought that he would respond big and he certainly did. Had the game not been a blowout, Ward would have had yet ANOTHER double double (he ended with 9 rebounds to go with his 15 points.

Ward needs to play this way all tournament for MSU to have a chance to surprise some people. Minnesota is a tougher team than Penn State so you have to imagine that he is going to be battling down low tomorrow, but if he is keeping this chip on his shoulder it is a good thing for Michigan State.

The Streak Is Alive

While just about every bracketologist in the nation had Michigan State in the tournament and the streak continuing, this win cemented that. Michigan State is going to be a 10 seed come Selection Sunday unless there is a run this weekend and Michigan State becomes back-to-back B1G Tourney champs. With that kind of pressure off their shoulders, these dudes can relax and focus on Pinto’s hot Minnesota team tomorrow night.

See ya tomorrow, folks. #GoGreen