After a fourth loss in five games to drop to 17-9, Michigan State basketball is searching for answers and this is how it can turn things around.
Once again, the meltdown regarding Michigan State basketball has taken center stage, and this time it’s more than warranted.
Michigan State had a chance to make a statement at home against No. 9 and Big Ten-leading Maryland on Saturday night, but let a seven-point lead melt away in the final three minutes. In fact, the Spartans allowed a 14-0 run to end the game, losing 67-60 and falling to 17-9 on the year.
There’s plenty of reason to panic about this year’s team, especially after starting the season No. 1 overall, but it can still be turned around before it’s officially too late.
So what must the Spartans do to get the 2019-20 season on track for March Madness?
5. Stop living and dying by the three
Michigan State isn’t the best shooting team in the Big Ten and they may not even be top-five lately, but they have plenty of shooters like Gabe Brown, Rocket Watts and Cassius Winston who can turn a game on its head with either comeback 3-pointers or daggers in crunch time.
But this is an area that has actually hurt the Spartans down the stretch this year and especially lately.
Michigan State has found itself down on double-digits in the first half of a number of games in the past three weeks and to climb out, they have a tendency to force low-percentage shots early in possessions. Rarely do the Spartans work the ball around anymore and pass a player open. More often than not, they’re trying to rush to get back into the game as quickly as possible.
And often times this means jacking up threes with the shot clock barely wound down. Sometimes they go in, often times they don’t, but the Spartans need to stop living and dying by the three, especially down a couple of points in late game situations.
For example, just look at Xavier Tillman’s 3-point attempt just 13 seconds into the shot clock with under three minutes to play and Michigan State up four on Maryland on Saturday. It sucked the life out of the team.