There is no way to sugarcoat this. That was one of the worst performances by a Michigan State team I have seen in a long time. Considering what was at stake, the opponent, and everything else coming into this game, this was just an absolutely pathetic performance.
Minnesota cruised to an easy 81-56 victory and Michigan State is now 0-3 in the Big Ten for the first time in 18 years.
Once again, MSU struggled in all facets of the game. The offense was a complete mess early, and that dug them into a hole they had no chance of climbing out of because the defense remains bad as well.
We have said before that the Spartans can’t win if their top players don’t show up. Well, none of them showed up.
Aaron Henry, Joey Hauser, Rocket Watts, and Josh Langford combined to go make seven shots on 37 attempts from the floor and made two of 12 attempts from three-point range.
This team has no identity and is not doing anything well. They aren’t defending, they aren’t rebounding, and they aren’t shooting. The guys you thought you were going to rely on have largely disappeared. The Spartans are not a good basketball team right now.
If you want to try and find a bright spot, freshman AJ Hoggard played well off the bench in the point guard role, scoring nine points. Malik Hall had eight points and five rebounds and knocked down a couple of threes.
But mostly it was just a disjointed mess of a basketball game.
Minnesota was led by Marcus Carr with 19 points, five assists and four rebounds. The Gophers also got a very good performance from seven-footer Liam Robbins who scored 19 points, with nine rebounds and three blocks. His size at the rim gave MSU trouble all night.
Where do we go from here? I have no idea. Tom Izzo and company are going to need to figure something out real quick, because the Big Ten is as deep as it has ever been and every night is going to be a fight. It would be nice for MSU to actually punch back once in a while.
What really stands out right now is the lack of leadership on the floor. Tom Izzo has always said a player-coached team is better than one led by the coaches, and right now MSU needs someone to step into that role. Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman are not walking through that door.
For the Spartans it is on to Nebraska this Saturday followed by a home date with a very good Rutgers team after that. Hopefully this team can dig deep the next few days and find something, because it isn’t going to be getting any easier.