Michigan State Basketball: Dominant North Carolina win sign of things to come

Miles Bridges, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Miles Bridges, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /

Michigan State basketball stepped up to the plate and delivered a big win over North Carolina in the title game of the Phil Knight Invitational.

Tom Izzo couldn’t get the “can’t beat Mike Krzyzewski” monkey off his back earlier in the year, but he did take care of the “can’t beat Roy Williams” one on Sunday night. The Spartans were able to dominate No. 9 North Carolina and hand the Tar Heels their first loss of the season.

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Michigan State and North Carolina each dominated on their way to the title game of the Phil Knight Invitational and one team remained hot in the final game. The Spartans were that team.

The win, built on defense, is a sign of things to come for the Spartans. They held North Carolina to a program low 25 percent shooting for the entire game and just 1-for-18 from 3-point range. The Tar Heels looked over-matched the entire game and couldn’t get any open shots.

When the Spartans are playing defense like this, there may not be a team in college basketball that can compete with them. Sure, Duke is right up there with Michigan State and beat the Spartans just a couple weeks earlier, but the defense in that game was a fraction of what it was on Sunday night in Portland.

Michigan State looked like a national title favorite on Sunday. The offense stalled out, with the exception of Josh Langford’s 23 points, but it didn’t matter. In each game of the PK80, the Spartans had players step up when others struggled or when Miles Bridges wasn’t healthy. That’s going to be great in the long-term.

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Defense will be the name of the game moving forward and Izzo is going to bring out this film whenever he feels his team isn’t giving it its all on the defensive end. This team can be dominant, and should be moving forward.