The Spartans went into New Brunswick and beat Rutgers on the road to open the Big Ten season, 78-67 on Nov. 30. Just a few days later, MSU had the Breslin rocking in its shellacking of the Iowa Hawkeyes, 90-68.
With no true center on the Iowa roster, the Michigan State bigs feasted on the Hawkeyes on Dec. 3. However, the most intriguing part of the win was actually from the Spartan guards.
Most fans are probably giving this the ol’ The Rock eyebrow raise, but hear me out.
Michigan State is most successful this season with Cassius Winston, Joshua Langford and Matt McQuaid leading the way (UCLA and Texas case in point). But this Iowa win, as well as Nick Ward’s 20-point performance against Rutgers, shows how well-rounded Tom Izzo’s team can be.
Winston and Langford both struggled scoring the ball against Iowa, but the shot attempts were still there. Winston finished two of nine from the field, while Langford missed eight of his 13 field goal attempts. This is where it can get scary for the Spartans competition. They were not simply differing to the bigs because Ward, Xavier Tillman and Kenny Goins had the matchup advantage: the guards were still aggressive.
This means that this game can be replicated in some form or fashion. Maybe with the guards being more efficient and the three big men struggling a bit more than they did against the Hawkeyes. This is what was so intriguing.
Goins, Ward and Tillman combined for a hyper-efficient 21-of-27 from the floor and 59 points. This, clearly, will not happen every night. The trio averaged about 27 points a game, on 55 percent shooting, heading into contest against Iowa.
If Izzo can find a way to get these three a few more good looks every game, with the guards playing they way they are, Michigan State will be a Big Ten contender no questions asked.
That’s without adding McQuaid back into the mix and not mentioning Kyle Ahrens, who is looking great. Translation: Michigan State’s top seven players can compete with just about anybody.
Oh, let us not forget about Aaron Henry and the rest of the quickly-developing freshmen that have looked good in their limited time on the floor.
We are in for a fun season, folks.
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR25 at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.