Disappointing. Lifeless. Uninspired. All three words could be used to describe what we saw from Michigan State basketball on Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
The Spartans faced the 13th-seeded Buckeyes and fell short after trailing for most of the game, 68-58. It was one of the most disappointing performances of the season.
AJ Hoggard had one of his worst games of the year, capped off by some questionable clips of Tom Izzo coaching him on the bench and him looking less than enthused, Malik Hall had arguably his worst game as a Spartan, and Tyson Walker and Joey Hauser just didn’t get enough shots up.
The offense took a major step back and the defense was mediocre again.
What’d we learn from this ugly loss?
3. This team will live and die by ball movement
After watching this game, a lot of fans would argue that Michigan State is living and dying by the three this year. And I actually agree to an extent but also think it’s much more than that.
Michigan State is going to live or die by ball movement in March.
When Michigan State’s offense is humming like it had been in the four games before Friday’s loss, the ball movement has been impressive. The Spartans were rotating the ball around the perimeter, inside and out, and finding the open man. That didn’t happen against the Buckeyes on Friday. Michigan State had just eight turnovers but it also only had nine assists.
That’s not going to cut it.
The best games this season have been met with great ball movement which always seems to find an open shooter or lane to the basket. That didn’t happen against the Buckeyes.