Michigan State's Woes Continue, NCAA Tournament Hopes Fading Away

As Michigan State drops to 2-6 in the conference, so do their hopes of making the NCAA Tournament.
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Michigan State's downward slide continued Sunday afternoon against Ohio State, as did any hope of MSU making the NCAA tournament.

At this point, it's nearly impossible to see how the Spartans might squeeze in.

From here on out, their schedule is brutal, with games against Iowa, Indiana, Purdue, OSU, Michigan, and Illinois (if it gets rescheduled) left to play.

Plus, if MSU can't find its confidence and start making shots, then competing against Nebraska, Maryland, and Penn State won't be a cakewalk.

But in reality, this is who Michigan State is; they lost more than almost anyone was willing to admit when Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman walked out of the Breslin Center.

They don't have enough shooters/scorers, turnovers are setting them back, and the lack of a point guard/post player is glaring.

Tom Izzo can't change the roster; he has to find the rotation that works; tinkering is fine, it's a part of the game, but there are not many opportunities left. 

The Spartans are simply running out of time.

Michigan State fans have also seen tougher teams come through East Lansing, mentally and physically, regardless of a late push vs. OSU over the weekend.

It's hard to point to one thing and say, 'hey, this will fix it,' because there are so many. Right now, MSU lacks a true No. 1 and leader on the floor; that much is apparent.

The Spartans need more from its best players, along with the correct combination of guys, but that's up to the staff.

So, who will step up? MSU needs consistency on offense, a rim protector, and shooting.

Against the Buckeyes, redshirt junior Joey Hauser became more involved, finding his rhythm scoring 11 points while grabbing five rebounds.

"Guys are counting on me; coach is counting on me to knock down shots. It's something I haven't done," Hauser said. "And I haven't shot with confidence. It's a mental battle, playing at this level."

On top of that, Aaron Henry is doing too much. He's an excellent defender, features a high-basketball IQ, and can contribute on the offensive end, but he's taking too many contested shots, three-pointers in particular.

However, it is a coach's job to put his players in the best position to win. It's time to figure out the rotation, whatever it looks like because MSU isn't a team that can waste possessions via turnovers or low percentage shots.

The coaching staff needs to rethink the offense, come up with different ways to create good looks, and find out who has what it takes to win.

"I'm gonna keep rotating until I find the right rotation," said Izzo. "It wasn't very good … I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I've got two days to think about it and I'm gonna think about it … I'm gonna play the people that are best."

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