Michigan State basketball must continue to feed Rocket Watts

Rocket Watts, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Rocket Watts, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

Rocket Watts was one of the main reasons the Michigan State basketball got back into the Wisconsin game on Saturday but he didn’t get enough looks.

Road games have seemed to be Michigan State’s kryptonite this season, but surprisingly, the Spartans have the second-best road record in the Big Ten. That should put things into perspective.

But when Michigan State plays on the road, two things usually happen: a combination of the ‘big three’ doesn’t show up and the Spartans get off to a slow start. Both were the case on Sunday afternoon at Wisconsin as Xavier Tillman played one of the worst games of his career and Aaron Henry just was relatively non-existent.

When Tillman or Henry don’t play well, the Spartans require someone else to step up and help Cassius Winston out.

On Saturday, that was Rocket Watts. It was nice to see as Watts was coming off a tough game against Northwestern and many believe that next year’s team will be his. He played like a player ready to prove himself against Wisconsin, scoring a career-high 16 points, but he disappeared in the final 10 minutes when Michigan State needed him to get over the hump. And it wasn’t his fault.

Watts didn’t have much drawn up for him in the final minutes of the game which was shameful because his 16 points got the Spartans back in the game. He was 6-of-13 from the floor and 4-for-10 from deep but he was quiet when Michigan State needed him most.

It was obvious from the get-go that Henry wasn’t going to have a good game and that’s when Tom Izzo should have done a gameplan switch. He should have run things through Watts instead of Henry while still giving his sophomore guard some touches to get his confidence back.

But late in the game, Izzo called a timeout and ran a play through Henry in the post and that’s something that could have been drawn up for Watts on the perimeter or Cassius.

Next. 3 takeaways from avoidable loss at Wisconsin. dark

If Michigan State wants to avoid these tough road starts, it needs to diagnose what’s working and what isn’t early on and take advantage. On Saturday, that was the play of Watts. Feed the man, Tom.