East Lansing, MI – Following a 25-point loss to Minnesota Monday night, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo had issues with one particular area.
The offense, saying his team had hit "rock bottom" on that end of the court.
So how does MSU turn it around?
Well, some of them are easy; the Spartans won't always shoot 25% from the field, but Michigan State's issues go well beyond poor shooting performances three games into conference play.
MSU ranks 78th in the country for its offensive efficiency, speaking to larger issues within their scoring abilities.
Izzo was pleased with practice heading towards a matchup with Nebraska and felt his team prioritized certain areas, intent on quickly turning things around.
Rocket Watts Shifts Back to Shooting Guard
The Detroit native is officially moving back to shooting guard, which will help the Michigan State offense.
By taking Watts off-ball, Izzo puts him somewhere he's comfortable and allows him to focus on scoring, rather than the responsibilities running a team features.
From the sounds of it, Foster Loyer's role will remain the same, but freshman A.J. Hoggard could see an increase in minutes.
Against the Golden Gophers, he hit 44.4% of his shots for nine points, one rebound, and one assist.
"A.J. grew up a point guard ... he is going to step up in a role, but he has a feel for those things," said Izzo. "I mean, he has some other things he doesn't do as well as either one of them, but he has a feel for running a team."
Stop Settling, Shoot Higher-Percentage Shots
In basketball, the old cliche is 'there's a lid on the basket,' meaning one team struggles to score.
At times, Spartan fans may have felt that way, as they watched Michigan State shoot 25.7% from the field, but some of it was self-inflicted.
MSU needs to take better shots rather than contested, challenging, and low percentage ones.
Izzo wants more from Henry and Joey Hauser offensively, who he's labeled as bright spots while pointing out Langford and Watts as individuals taking too many ill-advised shots.
"They (Minnesota) took advantage of, in my mind, the most poor shots one of my teams have shot in the last 7 or 8 years," said Izzo.
Getting to The Free-Throw Line
Michigan State's free-throw numbers are extraordinary, and not in a good way.
The Spartans are making 76.8% of their freebies but rank 12th in the conference for attempts per game (16.4) and total attempts (148).
"I couldn't agree more; that's one of the points of emphasis for the last three weeks ... that does stop the bleeding sometimes, I don't think there's any question about that and could really help us," Izzo said.
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