Well guys, I hope you were ready for March basketball.
After another sweater from MSU against Wisconsin, our Spartans are on to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.
Like you (probably), I’m trying to hide while feeding my MSU obsession at work, so this recap is a little lighter than most.
*Cliché alert* beating a team three times is very tough. And, truly, any way you can win in March is a great way.
It was a garbage war with Wisconsin as it always is, but squeaking out a three point win shouldn’t worry anyone. And, to be honest, Wisconsin looked like a really solid team the last month, going 5-3 in their last eight games with two of those losses coming from MSU.
I don’t know what to make of the inside game. On one hand, MSU outrebounded Wisconsin 41-27, including 16 offensive rebounds for MSU. On the other hand, Ethan Happ was scoring at will in the paint (22 points) and MSU only got 15 combined points from Nick Ward and Jaren Jackson.
The bench was a tad underwhelming UNTIL the home stretch. Then they were OK.
The bench scored seven points, and five of those came in crucial spots as Xavier Tillman had a nifty spin move finish after Wisconsin tied it at 49-49. The other three points? Oh, just another late 3-pointer to give MSU a five point lead with under a minute left.
Shoutout to Tum Tum Nairn and the defense in that final 20 second possession. Tum Tum was draped on Brad Davison -- basically in his shorts. MSU was keen on who was taking that last second shot and Wisconsin couldn’t even get a Plan B in motion. Brilliant end to the game.
I don’t know how Wisconsin coaches or fans or anyone can tolerate that daycare center on the court. Brad Davison gets called for a textbook blocking call and whines like a five-year-old who just had his teddy bear taken away. Ethan Happ, who habitually hooks and pushes off, asking for calls on defense was top-rate comedy. It’s just bizarre to see players openly whining and flopping at the rate Wisconsin does.
I’m going to get back on this soap box – I think Matt McQuaid should start over Josh Langford. Don’t want to screw up a starting five this late in the season? Fine – I think McQuaid should at least be logging more minutes than Langford.
Who’s playing with more confidence? It looks like McQuaid. Who plays better defense? It’s definitely McQuaid. Who has a better grasp on their jump shot? It’s McQuaid.
It seems like a no-brainer. McQuaid is playing better basketball than Langford and has been for roughly a month.