Michigan State continued their disappointing season with a loss to Ohio State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
It had been six days since the Spartans last saw the Buckeyes at the Breslin Center. MSU pulled out the 84-78 victory, but there were clearly times when the Buckeyes showed potential.
Now Ohio State has gone on to win three straight games in the tournament, and that’s before Indiana or Northwestern had even played a game. The Buckeyes were also the lowest seed in the Big Ten Tournament to ever advance to the semifinals.
For Michigan State, it was the lack of shooting that cost them badly in this game. Tyson Walker, A.J. Hoggard, and Jaden Akins all had 10 points, with Joey Hauser supplying 15.
From beyond the arc, MSU shot 3-16 compared to OSU’s 10-19. The Spartans had countless good looks, including a wide open Malik Hall three at the top of the key that resulted in an air ball. The senior would finish 0-6 from the field and clearly was off the entire course of the game.
Michigan State really believed they had the potential to win the tournament, but once again the combination of shooting and defense was lackluster. Whether it was the Iowa loss, where Michigan State didn’t guard anyone for the last 90 seconds, or the 80-65 loss at Indiana, the theme of bad defense has been common.
Even after Michigan State’s road win over Nebraska, Tom Izzo reiterated the fact that his guys were refusing to guard anyone. It’s extremely uncommon to see MSU teams play this poorly on defense and continue to give up easy buckets. Thornton, Gayle Jr., and Sueing all had really strong shooting performances, with a combined 50 points amongst them.
The Spartans should be a 7-seed when the bracket is revealed on Sunday. Despite who Michigan State will play, it will be what type of MSU squad shows up shooting wise. At times, it appears that MSU can play among some of the elite teams in the country. On the other hand, it seems like the effort isn’t there for MSU, and Tom Izzo has been persistent on that.
A 38% shooting day from the field and 19% from beyond the arc isn’t going to win very many games in the month of March. There needs to be panic within the Spartan program, or the season is going to be over in a hurry.