1. This team is the epitome of tough
With a short bench, it seemed inevitable that we’d be praising this team’s toughness and grit through the first handful of games. I didn’t think I’d be praising them this soon, though.
Michigan State was fresh off a heartbreaking loss to Gonzaga on Friday night and all it did was play No. 4 Kentucky tight all game long and pick up a huge overtime win, 86-77. Michigan State now only hung with the Wildcats, but it showed that it can beat anyone in the country.
Malik Hall played really well, scoring 20 points with five rebounds and throwing down the game-tying dunks to send the game to overtime and double-overtime, Tyson Walker bounced back from a poor shooting performance to start the game to lead the Spartans to a win with 14 points and six assists, AJ Hoggard played tough even though it wasn’t his best offensive game, Joey Hauser showed short-term memory with 23 points after playing poorly against Gonzaga, and Mady Sissoko had the game of his life.
Michigan State played 6-7 guys extensively, but even with the tight bench, the Spartans showed toughness and grit and have now outplayed Gonzaga and Kentucky for about 85 of the past 90 minutes of action.
We really underestimated this team, didn’t we?