East Lansing, MI – After Wisconsin defeated Michigan State 85-76 while shooting 52% from the field and scoring 1.24 points per possession, concerns about the Spartans remained.
MSU has struggled to defend the perimeter and dribble penetration, but one thing is clear above all else.
They aren't where they need to be yet.
Yes, the Spartans match the Badgers talent-wise, but collectively, right now, Michigan State can't beat a group as organized and sound as Wisconsin.
UW looked like a team filled with seniors who know exactly what's expected of them from start to finish.
Discipline – that's what you need to win, and turning the ball over 14 times for 24 points on the other end isn't going to get it done.
On Christmas Day, Joey Hauser delivered a career-high 27-points, and Michigan State drained 8-of-11 three-pointers while shooting 47% overall, but their inconsistencies kept them from going home with a victory.
"They are one of the best teams in our league and in the country right now," Hauser said during the postgame presser. "We were in there for most of the game. I didn't think we played exceptionally well, especially on the defensive end, but we played hard ... we had them down nine (points) early in the second half.
"In terms of us just growing as a team, that's when we have to take advantage even when we aren't playing well; we gotta pull out a win."
It's MSU's first 0-2 start in conference play since 2006-07; that team finished 21-10 (8-8 B1G) in the regular season and lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
0-2 Starts In Big Ten Under Tom Izzo for MSU
- 1996-97: 17-12 overall (9-9 B1G)
- 2001-02: 19-12 overall (10-6 B1G)
- 2005-06: 22-12 overall (8-8 B1G)
- 2006-07: 21-10 overall (8-8 B1G)
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