After two games against top-10 teams on opposite ends of the country, the Michigan State basketball team returns to Breslin Center on Friday for its home opener against Mississippi Valley State. The Delta Devils aren't nearly the the caliber of Arizona or Kentucky, having lost their first three games against Northwestern, West Virginia and Kent State by a combined 102 points. But that just means Friday's game will be a test for the Spartans in a different way.
“We’re gonna do [sic]like a boxer and when you get punched in the face and knocked to the canvas you have two choices, you can get up or you can lay there.” Tom Izzo addressed Michigan State’s 0-2 start at practice Thursday with a fitting analogy as the team just got back from the “Mecca of Boxing,” Madison Square Garden.
At the conclusion of his prep career in 2014, Matt McQuaid packed up his whole world and began the cross-country journey from Duncanville, Texas, to East Lansing, Michigan. Full of unknowns and new expectations, the experience of a lifetime lay in front of him. McQuaid has his family and teammates to thank for that.
Eron Harris knows the drill. For Michigan State to succeed this season, the 6-foot-3 guard can't go 1-for-3 from the field, turn it over three times and disappear defensively the way he did while playing just 13 minutes in the loss to Kentucky on Tuesday. The 3-for-8, four-turnover performance against Arizona isn't going to get it done either, and Harris knows full well he needs to be better.
When Eron Harris came to Michigan State two years ago, he did so as a high-level scorer who had blossomed into a starring role at West Virginia. Over the course of last season, he had to learn to transition into role player and defensive specialist on a team that featured Denzel Valentine and Bryn Forbes. That adjustment was rocky at times, -- he learned defensive and shot selection expectations the hard way early on -- but evolved well into the role his team needed of him.
“This is about Michigan State,” Izzo said Thursday. “This is about what Michigan State hasn’t done so far this year, and that is we played hard enough defensively but we haven’t run hard enough on offense, we have not taken care of the ball well enough and those two things create a ton of problems.”
Thursday was one of those days when the media was told basketball practice should end around a certain time and that players and coaches would be available afterward. That was the honest expectation. Tom Izzo wasn’t concerned about those expectations.
After playing its first two games of the season in Hawaii and then New York, Michigan State returns home to face Mississippi Valley State in the home opener for the Spartans. Tom Izzo will look to improve on his perfect 21-0 record in home openers. The last time MSU opened 0-2 was in 2011-12 as the Spartans went on to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
“That’s something that I want to win,” Green told ESPN in an exclusive interview this week. “And if there’s anything I’ve ever been selfish about, it’s that award. Like, I want that award.”
I didn’t believe Michigan State sophomore Kenny Goins three weeks ago when he said he wasn’t worried at all about Michigan State’s ability rebound or defend the paint. Common sense said otherwise. And I’ve always found Goins to be a sensible kid. So I chalked it up to machismo and didn’t use the quote.
The John R. Wooden Award announced its Preseason Top 50 and Michigan State freshman Miles Bridges is on the list comprised of the student-athletes who are the early front runners for college basketball’s most prestigious individual honor.
In theory, Michigan State basketball set off on 10,118 miles of travel to prove it can play against anybody's anybody. Instead, the Spartans are left wondering who they are. Arizona erased a 15-point first-half deficit to win in Hawaii last week. Kentucky rolled to an easy, unfettered win in Manhattan on Tuesday night.
For most top programs, November is supposed to be the month where you pad your record with blowout wins against schools the rest of the country has never heard of. That is unless you’re Tom Izzo’s Spartans, in which case it means loads of travel and early tests against championship-caliber opponents.
Michigan State's season-opening loss to Arizona frustrated head coach Tom Izzo because the Spartans had every opportunity to beat a top-10 team and couldn't close. Four days later -- all the way across the country -- MSU faced another high-caliber team in No. 2 Kentucky, and this time it felt like the Spartans never had a chance.
Michigan State gets rolled by Kentucky in Champions Classic MLive
Playing in the world's most famous arena against perhaps the world's most famous arena, this Michigan State lineup took this floor in the second half: Tum Tum Nairn, Alvin Ellis, Matt McQuaid, Kenny Goins and Kyle Ahrens. It was a sign of a night that had gone clearly awry.
Kentucky’s athleticism, defense too much for Michigan State in Champions Classic Land of 10
Michigan State struggled to find and make open shots in its season-opener against Arizona, and the problems weren’t solved Tuesday night against Kentucky. Facing the No. 2-ranked Wildcats at Madison Square Garden in the Champions Classic, the No. 13 Spartans couldn’t keep pace with one of the most talented teams in the nation in a 69-48 loss.
Three Things: MSU vs Kentucky The Only Colors
We knew that this was going to be a tough stretch of games. Going from playing Arizona in Hawaii on a Friday to facing off against Kentucky in New York only 4 days later. As soon as things things tipped of from Madison Square Garden it seemed like Michigan State was always a step behind Kentucky. They kept things close for the first 5 minutes of the game but after went on a 7-0 run early in the first half, there was no catching up and Kentucky ended up winning the first game in the Champions Classic, 69-48.
Couch: To get where it wants to go, MSU has to go young Lansing State Journal
Michigan State’s basketball team won’t be at its best this season until its best lineups include its youngest players. That might not be too far off. That might be now. The Spartans in their mid-November form are a clear notch below the best of college basketball on a neutral court — if Kentucky is indeed near the top of college basketball. The Wildcats made that point with a 69-48 win over MSU Tuesday in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.
No. 13 Michigan State Drops 69-48 Decision to No. 2 Kentucky MSUSpartans.com
Freshman Malik Monk scored 23 points on 7-for-11 shooting from 3-point range, and Isaiah Briscoe added 21 to lead No. 2 Kentucky to a 69-48 victory over No. 13 Michigan State on Tuesday night in the State Farm Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.
Spartans fall to 0-2 with loss to No. 2 Kentucky State News
The Spartans looked to rebound against No. 2 Kentucky after a last-second coast-to-coast layup cost MSU their first win Friday against then-No. 10 Arizona, but fell to Kentucky, 69-48, in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden and are now 0-2 to start the regular season.
No offense: Spartans clawed by Wildcats Detroit News
When Miles Bridges checked out for the final time Tuesday night, he could only say one thing to Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. “All I could tell him was I’m sorry,” Bridges said. “There was nothing else to tell him.”
MSU's upperclassmen come up short against Kentucky Detroit News
All of the attention was on the freshmen Tuesday night as Kentucky and Michigan State squared off at Madison Square Garden in the Champions Classic. But the difference in the game was the players that have been around for more than a year. That’s not a big group for Kentucky, but the 21 points from sophomore Isaiah Briscoe proved to be as big as the 23 from freshman Malik Monk in a 69-48 blowout over Michigan State.
MSU notes: Tom Izzo 'disappointed' his Spartans wobbled on big stage Detroit Free Press
John Calipari knows a thing or two about dealing with talented newcomers. It’s kind of his thing. Kentucky’s coach has six freshmen this season, his recruiting class one of just two – along with Duke – that was ranked better than Tom Izzo’s four-player group with Michigan State.
Forward Miles Bridges has been named to the preseason 50 John R. Wooden Award watch list. The list, headlined by Duke's Grayson Allen, includes players considered most outstanding in men's and women's college basketball.