Michigan State Basketball: 3 things we learned vs. Minnesota

Michigan State basketball pulled off a huge win on the road against Minnesota on Tuesday night and here’s what we learned.

When the final seconds were ticking down on the first half, it seemed like Michigan State basketball was getting ready to start the Big Ten season 0-1. Another loss would have been detrimental for NCAA Tournament hopes and the Spartans looked lifeless.

They couldn’t hit shots, they lacked confidence and there was no spark, and then the second half started. It looked like a different team out of the locker room and Michigan State forced overtime after trailing by 13 at half.

The Spartans ended up winning by one in overtime, 75-74, and this may have been one of those season-correcting wins. Are the Spartans now back on the right track?

Well, here’s what we learned.

Michigan StateSpartans

75

MinnesotaGolden Gophers

74

1. Nick Ward might be the best freshman in the Big Ten

Is this a crazy claim? Maybe, but it’s looking more and more true by the game. Nick Ward flat-out dominated yet again, scoring 22 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and finishing with four blocks. He is on pace to have one of the best freshman seasons in MSU history. In the absence of Miles Bridges, Ward is making quite the name for himself and he could be the frontrunner for Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

2. Alvin Ellis III deserves more playing time

I’ll admit it when I’m wrong. I’ve been against Alvin Ellis III getting a ton of playing time this season and thought he has been playing lazy or lackadaisical when he has been in there. However, he had a monster game and keeps proving he should probably play more than Eron Harris — at least until Harris fixes himself. Ellis III finished with 20 points and two crucial free throws with 10 seconds left to win it.

3. Tom Izzo’s team has guts

Who knew they had it in them? Michigan State seemed to be playing cupcake basketball through the first 20 minutes and whatever Tom Izzo drilled in their heads at halftime worked. Izzo out-coached Richard Pitino in the second half and overtime and it was clear the Spartans were the better and tougher team. This could be a springboard to a successful season.

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