This is the game Michigan State fans have wanted to see for a while now. They destroyed Indiana, defeating the Hoosiers by a final score of 85-57. The Spartans are now 2-2 over their last four games, but this has to feel good. The Hoosiers had no answer for the MSU bigs and couldn’t find enough offense to keep pace. Here are a few takeaways from the game.
Defense, defense, defense
This team needs to be all about defense. It’s one of the main things they can control. Every team has off shooting nights, but defensive effort is something that can be there every night. We haven’t seen that lately with the Spartans, as teams have been getting to the basket with ease and getting open looks from the outside. Tonight, the Spartans held the Hoosiers to 34 percent shooting from the field and 31 percent shooting from beyond the arc, while blocking seven shots. MSU has the size and length to be a top defensive team, which they are. The key is effort. When they are engaged on every possession, it’s tough for opponents to get anything going. When they take plays off and don’t communicate, the Spartans are very beatable.
Bench scoring better, but still could be improved
You know what you’re going to get from the MSU starters. Nick Ward, Josh Langford, Jaren Jackson, Miles Bridges and Cassius Winston are a good bet to score between 70 and 90 points per game. But for this team to take the next step, they need a good bench scorer or scorers. Against Maryland, the Spartan bench chipped in 27 points, and tonight, the Spartan bench scored 18. Matt McQuaid had 11 of those 18 points and he is a guy that can really help MSU. He is a great shooter, but hasn’t quite found his stroke this season. He’s shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc this season, which is respectable, but I believe that number could be higher. He’s had a few open looks that haven’t gone down, and if he can get hot down the stretch, MSU will be tough to beat.
Miles Bridges looked like a star tonight
There have been a lot of people talking about Bridges and how he’s been settling for jump shots instead of attacking the basket. Well, he must’ve heard all of the talk, because he knocked down four three pointers and the rest of his points came at the rim. He wasn’t settling for jump shots tonight and that helped the offense. The Spartans shot the ball very well, knocking down 54 percent of their shots from the field and 50 percent from deep. Bridges is the star of this team, and he looked the part tonight. If he can build on this performance and stay away from settling for contested jumpers, MSU will get back to its winning ways. However, if he resorts back to taking step back and fade away jumpers, MSU will struggle to beat good teams.