After a home loss to Michigan, there are plenty of questions surrounding Michigan State basketball, such as the team’s toughness.
You can tell a lot about a team after it gets hit in the mouth. Will it respond and punch back even harder or will it just cower in the corner, waiting for the fight to be over? On Saturday afternoon, it seemed as if Michigan State did the latter as Michigan came to the Breslin Center and pulled off the upset win.
It’s hard to say what exactly went wrong since there was so much to choose from, but Michigan State didn’t have the toughness to hang with the Wolverines.
The first half seemed to be an exciting battle and the Spartans went into the half with a 37-34 lead and came out and scored first to take a five-point advantage. From that point on, it seemed to be all Wolverines as they countered every Spartan make and didn’t waste any possessions.
Michigan capitalized on 18 turnovers by the Spartans for an 82-72 win. The Wolverines proved to be the tougher team on Saturday, but is this a trend that will continue for Michigan State?
Do the Spartans have the toughness — both mentally and physically — to be serious national title contenders this season? There’s no doubt the talent is there, but the toughness seems to be lacking, at least in the past couple of weeks. However, we won’t know the answer to that until we see how they respond to this loss and adversity surrounding the locker room.
Good teams rise from losses like this and get better, learning from the mistakes. Great teams not only do that, but use it as motivation to make a deep run in March.
Do the Spartans have the toughness? Moe Wagner made it seem like the answer was a big fat “no” as he dominated all game long to the tune of 27 points on an injured ankle. He made the Spartans look silly down low and even stretched the defense, making a few threes. He helped put the game out of reach.
Michigan State needs to show that even when its losing late in the game, the result isn’t determined. Far too often when this team gets behind, it scrambles and cannot find a leader to rely on. The offense falls apart with a late deficit, and that’s something that needs to be fixed.
This year’s team isn’t used to losing, but this needs to be a wake-up call and the toughness needs to become more evident throughout the rest of conference play.
It’s time to see more fire from Miles Bridges, Nick Ward, Jaren Jackson Jr., Cassius Winston and Josh Langford.