Spartans Get Thumped in Madison 67-49!

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Kohl Center

Madison, WI

It was matter of who wanted it more and tonight the Badgers did. I had written earlier about the Spartans slow starts that have plagued them all year. At least their aggressive defense kept them in games. Not tonight. Izzo said, “We have struggled at times offensively, but not defensively. We have to figure out how to bounce back now.”


Tonight they not only started slow, they simply didn’t show up on defense and they got down early to a good Badger team and couldn’t recover. The Spartans picked the wrong place for their worst performance of the season and tonight in Madison it was in the words of Brent Musburger, “Horrendous.” “I think for the most part that was an old fashion whipping,” was how Izzo described the game.


The numbers don’t lie and the Spartans shot only 37% for the game and an abysmal 33% in the second half while Bo Ryan’s Badgers shot an amazing 50% for the game. The Spartans had 13 turnovers to the Badgers five. All numbers that point to a beating and that was what tonight was. “We just didn’t guard very well. We didn’t and Tom Izzo did a bad job,” was what Izzo said after the game.


You could point to the second half loss of Kalin Lucas, but in all fairness the Spartans were out before he went down with a sprained ankle. He could have come back according to reports, but with the game’s outcome no longer in contention it was useless. After the game he was in a boot and I doubt those reports that he could have returned.


Give the Badgers credit. They worked their plan and the plan worked. They consistently didn’t start to run their offense until they had 12 seconds on the shot clock and simply shortened the game and the Spartans much more athletic attack. Bo Ryan said about his team, “Give my staff credit, they were prepared and ready for what MSU was going to bring at us.”


Besides a slow start the Spartans again were turnover prone and the combination of both was far too much to overcome against a good Badger team on the road. 


The Spartans had 11 assists and those 13 turnovers already mentioned, but the Badgers had five turnovers and 17 assists. Clearly the Badgers did everything right tonight and the Spartans were never in rhythm. Izzo said about his team, “We are not doing the things we needed to do.” 


Can there be a silver lining? The Badgers played their best game of the year and the Spartans their worst. I asked Draymond Green if he would like a rematch in the Big Ten tournament and he assured me he did.


Now we wait on the ankle of Mr. Kalin Lucas.