I don’t have a subscription for Peacock, so I missed the beginning of the game while I searched for slightly less legitimate ways of watching the game online. As a result, I will not be doing a full recap of the game. It’s probably good for me that I missed the beginning of this one, as I imagine I would have punched a hole in my couch had I been watching it.
So here is the recap in a nutshell, and I am sure it will seem familiar to all of you:
Wisconsin hits a few early shots while MSU is unaware the game has started.
MSU is down double-digits within five minutes.
MSU stays at that margin for most of the first half, attempts to trim it down by teasing a run but never really doing so, and goes into halftime still down by over ten points.
In the second half, MSU comes out with more energy though it takes a few minutes for that to result in anything.
MSU finally goes on the run that everyone knew would eventually happen, and they eventually make it a one possession game.
The two teams trade baskets until MSU stops making their shots, at which point the lead grows back to double digits.
Wisconsin wins 70-57.
So let’s just get straight to the 3 Likes & 3 Dislikes.
3 Things I Liked: (I am really searching on these tonight)
- Energy late in the game. Despite the fact that we knew this game was going to be a loss, MSU’s defense was still making plays all the way to the end. With one minute remaining, Coen Carr put Steven Crowl on a poster when he blocked his dunk. Six seconds later, Tyson Walker got a layup. On the ensuing inbounds, Walker and Carson Cooper teamed up to get a steal on the sideline in the backcourt, and four seconds later, Tre Holloman got a basket. That is how MSU needs to play for 40 minutes. We should have the depth and the athletes to outhustle and outjump most other teams. Let’s see more full court press please.
- Single digit turnovers. That’s right, MSU only turned the ball over to the Badgers eight times in this one, which comes as a surprise to me just from watching this team every game. Of those eight, only two came from our starting backcourt of Hoggard and Walker. Ball security could go a long way in masking some of the other things this team is struggling to do well right now. If we keep avoiding turnovers while we fix the other issues, maybe this team can get the season turned around.
- Steven Izzo is the Bizarro Tom Izzo. While Steven’s father is always coming out to his team at timeouts with a coaching lesson to “enthusiastically communicate” to whoever just done messed up, Steven is always the first one running out to give fives to everyone who was on the floor, regardless of the game situation. He is doing his best to keep morale up. It’s just like seeing the cheerleaders on the floor as the game goes to a commercial break but we are down 13. I still think he is going to score some points this season. Karma has to be on his side.
3 Things I Did Not Like: (I shouldn’t stop at three but I need to get to bed)
- No inside game. I’ll keep saying this one until it changes. I am so sick of watching MSU pass the ball around the perimeter, do the occasional weave, and then have someone do something in isolation with seven seconds left on the shot clock. Tonight, Sissoko and Cooper were both 1-1 on FGs. That is pathetic that we don’t shoot more from the paint. Even if they don’t end up taking the shot, we need some variety in our offense and we need the ball to get passed inside on occasion. Either score down low, use it to draw fouls, or use it to draw defense in and then kick it back out. It’s really upsetting to see a near-complete avoidance of post play.
- Three-point shooting woes. Sure, Walker and Hoggard had that flurry in the second half that brought MSU to within one possession. The two of them hit five straight from deep in just over three minutes of game time. Aside from that barrage, MSU only made one of their other 14 attempts. This team needs to spend more time practicing shooting their 3s. If they are going to be this bad from downtown, that is all the more reason to start forcing the ball down low.
- Malik Hall. Malik may become the focus of all my Spartan ire this season, much like Hauser was last year. There was a stretch late in the second half where Hall gave up three offensive rebounds in the span of four or five Badger possessions. After the second one, he got an earful from Tom at a timeout; apparently, he did not learn anything from that coaching opportunity as it happened again soon after. Aside from that, he went 1-3 on his shots for 2 points in his 23 minutes. Even though he did not start, he still got starter’s minutes. He really is not adding anything to this team right now. And while I know we have all been disappointed in what we have seen from Xavier Booker thus far, I am beginning to question if it would be worth it to have him out there more and take the bumps as he learns how to play college hoops rather than have to suffer through more of Hall.
- Bonus one since I did not do a recap. My extra dislike is being wrong. I predicted MSU would win the National Championship. Well, we are 4-4 and playing like absolute poop. So yeah, I am going to say I am going to change my prediction for this season. I think we will improve as a team by season’s end and it will be enough to get us to the 2nd weekend again, but a trip to Phoenix and being the last team standing just are not happening.
On to Nebraska.