Michigan State Basketball: 3 things we learned from Michigan loss

Michigan State basketball took on Michigan Tuesday night and came out on the losing end, emphatically.

It wasn’t pretty. Michigan was lighting up arch rival Michigan State on Tuesday night in Ann Arbor to the tune of 86-57 and it wasn’t even close. The Spartans were within two points, 15-13, a few minutes into the first half, but that was the last time they were even in the game.

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The Wolverines couldn’t miss, it seemed, drilling 3-pointer after 3-pointer and Michigan State’s defense wasn’t helping matters. More often than not, the Spartans played the pick-and-roll wrong and it led to easy buckets for the Wolverines.

Michigan State fell to 14-10 overall and 6-5 in the Big Ten with the loss and it desperately needs to finish the month strong with wins against Iowa, Ohio State and even Wisconsin.

Here’s what we learned from Tuesday night’s loss to Michigan.

1. Defense needed a wake-up call

The defense displayed on Tuesday night was horrendous. Not only was Michigan making its 3-pointers, but the Wolverines were getting to the basket with ease, finishing 60 percent from the floor. Heck, the first half was a disaster as the Wolverines were shooting 75 percent and 8-of-11 from 3-point range, scoring 55 points. It was arguably the worst half of basketball in years. The defense stepped up in the second half to allow only 33 points and 11-of-25 shooting from the field. Still, not a good performance.

2. Cassius Winston needs to take care of the ball

In the first half alone, Cassius Winston looked like a turnover machine. He is usually a valuable asset off the bench, but he struggled to take care of the ball, turning it over six times on Tuesday night. Most of those turnovers were unforced, but it’s still something that needs to be addressed. Yes, he can make the impressive passes, but he tries to force it to Nick Ward and Miles Bridges too much and turnovers happen.

3. Shock clock awareness is non-existent

I’ve never seen a Michigan State team so poor with the shot clock. Tum Tum Nairn is standing there with the ball in his hands more often than not with the time running out and that’s a disaster scenario. He’s not an offensive threat. Far too often, the Spartans have the ball at about half court with the clock ticking down under 10 seconds and it led to multiple violations throughout the game. Michigan State should start practicing with a 20-second shot clock to avoid situations like that.

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