Michigan State Basketball: Spartans handle North Florida despite sloppy play

TULSA, OK - MARCH 19: Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans reacts against the Kansas Jayhawks during the second round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at BOK Center on March 19, 2017 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
TULSA, OK - MARCH 19: Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans reacts against the Kansas Jayhawks during the second round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at BOK Center on March 19, 2017 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images) /
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Michigan State basketball opened its 2017-18 season on Friday night with North Florida visiting East Lansing.

Tom Izzo wasn’t pleased following his team’s season-opening performance against North Florida on Friday night. He said he took some good with some of the bad and wanted to be happy, but his team’s 21 turnovers weighed on his mind.

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It was those 21 turnovers that held Michigan State back from reaching its true potential. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, how could anyone be unsatisfied with a 32-point win? For a perfectionist like Izzo, it was far from satisfying.

The Spartans did flex their muscles a bit, though, as every starter scored in double figures and the two true freshmen had solid performances in their first real action. In fact, Jaren Jackson Jr. had a double-double, scoring 13 with 13 rebounds and four blocks while Xavier Tillman played 11 minutes and had four points and three rebounds.

Last season, Michigan State was one of the worst in the country at protecting the ball and it seems like that weakness needs to be corrected. North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll said after the game that the Spartans’ only weakness this year could be themselves. He’s right.

This team has a few days to prepare for a matchup with No. 1 Duke which seems to have Izzo’s number. If the Spartans want a chance at winning that one, they need to cut down the turnovers, at least in half.

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All-in-all, it was a good win for the Spartans who made just three 3-pointers and still came away with 98 points and a blowout win.