Michigan basketball continued an ugly trend against top-ranked Big Ten foes on the road by getting absolutely drilled by the Michigan State Spartans at the Breslin Center, 75-52. The loss drops #4 Michigan to 21-4 (8-4) while the streaking Spartans improve to 21-4 (10-2).
How They Lost
The Wolverines haven’t played good basketball on the road against Ohio State, Indiana, and now Michigan State. The blueprint has been that the opposition comes out shooting darts and runs out to a big early game lead. Michigan then has to scrap and claw just to get back into it before ultimately falling by the wayside.
Tom Izzo’s team broke free of the usual by not allowing Michigan to ever get into this game. Not even close. Michigan shot 10-24 in the first half, including 3-11 from three point range compared to 16-30 and 3-8 for the Spartans.
The Wolverines entered halftime a beaten team and came out for the 2nd half and played like it. Michigan’s defense was unable to make Izzo’s team uncomfortable at any point during the game. On the flip side, Trey Burke could never get his teammates involved. Michigan had to work way too hard to get their looks and simply didn’t have the luxury of running their offense and getting easy buckets.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. shot 0-6 in the 1st half, leaving Burke to try and shoulder the load. Glenn Robinson III’s offensive game has evaporated and his confidence is at a seasonal low. What it looked like tonight was two teams moving in opposite directions. MSU really has it rolling and not only looked like the better, more complete team, but they looked like the team who wanted it more.
Michigan State had 4 players finish in double figures, led by Gary Harris’ 17. He was 5-9 from deep. Derrick Nix used an array of bizarre hook shots to finish with 16 points. Keith Appling was 4-14 from the field but scored 11 and Branden Dawson added 10 before leaving with an injury.
To see Robinson and Hardaway combine to shoot 2-15 for 4 points in a game of this magnitude was a glimpse into the overall disaster that just took place.
The feeling that will resonate with Michigan fans after this one is how they seemingly laid down and played dead in the 2nd half. There was no run. No fire. Nothing indicative of the character of one of the nation’s best teams. Tonight was not what this team is supposed to be about.
Michigan’s 3 Stars
- Trey Burke – Burke was one of just a few Wolverines who was able to shake off his surroundings and play his game. Burke was 7-11 from the floor (3-5 from beyond the arc) for 18 points. He added 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 2 turnovers.
- Nik Stauskas – Stauskas looked much more comfortable than he did in the OSU and Indiana road games. Perhaps he is settling in. He shot 4-8 (2-4 from three) for 10 points and 3 rebounds.
- Nobody. Burke and Stauskas were literally the only 2 players to have a solid game. No other player scored more than 5.
News and Notes
- A big moment in this game came with 18:22 left in the 2nd half. Michigan State was up 43-29 at the time and Keith Appling drew a questionable charge call on Burke. The foul was Burke’s 3rd. John Beilein instantly pulled him from the game. The vibe at the time was if Burke wasn’t in the lineup then certain doom was to come. MSU immediately went on a big run, erasing any hope of a comeback attempt.
- Tonight’s game marked the first time that both teams were ranked in the top 10 at the time of the meeting.
- Mitch McGary made the first start of his career tonight. It was certainly a tough assignment for the freshman. He didn’t make his usual impact finishing with 4 points, 4 boards, and 4 turnovers.
- With the loss, Michigan drops 2 games back in the Big Ten standings. It is beginning to look like a repeat atop the nation’s best league is going to be very difficult to achieve.
- Perhaps most surprising was seeing Michigan lose the turnover battle, 16-8.
- MSU out-rebounded Michigan 40-28.
- From a big picture perspective, this is a loss that won’t hurt Michigan much come seeding time. All of these top-tiered Big Ten teams are going to get extremely high seeds come March Madness and roll from there.
On Sunday at noon, Michigan will finally get a much needed scheduling breather as Penn State comes to town. The Nittany Lions are 8-15 overall, but 0-11 in conference play. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
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