Michigan State basketball’s loss to Texas Tech doesn’t define season

Tom Izzo, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Izzo, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Losing to Texas Tech hurts now, but when you think about it in the grand scheme of things, Michigan State basketball had a great season.

A two-point deficit felt like 15. Michigan State went into the locker room at halftime down 23-21 to Texas Tech and that deficit seemed insurmountable. The Red Raiders were playing incredible defense and Michigan State couldn’t buy a shot.

The Spartans had to feel lucky.

It’s not like the Spartans’ defense wasn’t performing well, because it was, but the Red Raiders were suffocating Michigan State. They locked down on Cassius Winston and forced him to play out of character for most of the game and they weren’t allowing any easy buckets in the post.

To top it all off, Kenny Goins couldn’t buy a bucket, and neither could Xavier Tillman — and Matt McQuaid’s potential game-tying three with a few minutes left in the game bounced around the rum and out.

Michigan State went on to lose 61-51 as Texas Tech advanced to the national title game against Virginia, a devastating blow to a team that exceeded expectations.

But that’s what happened: Michigan State exceeded expectations.

Josh Langford went down, Nick Ward was out for a month and never truly regained his old form and Kyle Ahrens missed the NCAA Tournament. No one expected Michigan State to make a run, but it did.

Winston dealt with a foot injury and knee tendonitis, but he got the job done.

The Spartans were depleted with only 6-7 players who saw the floor each time out, but that didn’t stop them from topping Bradley, Minnesota, LSU and Duke on their way to a Final Four.

The end of the season was disappointing, no doubt. Texas Tech was a beatable team and the Spartans fought back from a 13-point second-half deficit to pull within one point, but couldn’t seem to find the bottom of the net in the final minutes, fumbling away a potential miracle comeback against the nation’s best defense.

But that doesn’t matter now.

Tom Izzo coached the best season of his career, led the Spartans to Big Ten regular season and tournament titles and finally overcame the Duke hurdle while beating rival Michigan three times — twice for titles.

This season wasn’t a disappointment, but the ending was.

Next. 5 bold predictions for Michigan State in Final Four. dark

Don’t let the sour taste of a 10-point defeat against Texas Tech define the 2018-19 season because it doesn’t. It was a bad night where the better team won because it out-toughed the Spartans — a rare occurrence during the successful campaign. Michigan State will be back and this was just a program building block.