Michigan State Basketball got upset at home and lost in overtime to James Madison in the biggest upset of the night.
This was the first-ever meeting between the two schools on the basketball court. Entering this game, James Madison last season had an impressive 22-11 overall record and they finished in fourth play with a 12-6 record in Sun Belt conference play. This season, the Dukes are expected to even do more and possibly win the conference and make the NCAA Tournament.
James Madison was picked to win the Sun Belt conference this season in the Sun Belt preseason poll and after their play against the Spartans, this prediction seems to be accurate. What may have been a reason that Michigan State scheduled this game? Well, an interesting fact is, that one of James Madison’s assistant coaches is a person by the name of Matt Bucklin and he is the nephew of Tom Izzo. Now let’s take a look at the three quick takeaways.
Michigan State did not play well in the first half
The Spartans only made one of nine three-point attempts and shot only 32% from the field. More alarming than those stats was that Michigan State only made 12 out of their 22 free throw attempts going into halftime. The Spartans also uncharacteristically outrebounded in the first half 28-22 by the Dukes. Michigan State only scored 33 first-half points and was down by going into half-time down five points.
Four of the five Michigan State starters did not play well offensively
A.J. Hoggard who played 34 minutes only scored nine points and most of those came in the first half. He shot two for eleven from the field and was zero for four from three-point range. Jaden Akins who played 28 minutes scored only four points and shot two for ten from the field. He like Hoggard was zero for four from beyond the arc. The two Spartan big who started did not play much better.
Malik Hall who started at the power forward position shot two for twelve for only four points. He like Akins and Hoggard shot zero for four from three-point range. The three players combined shot zero for twelve from beyond the arc. Mady Sissoko who started at center only had four points and four rebounds. The four starters combined made only eight out of the 36 shots they took for only 21 of the 79 total points for the Spartans. The four players need to play better against Duke next week if they want to win.
Michigan State can still improve and win a national championship
When the Spartans won the national championship in 2000, Michigan State lost to Wright State and only scored 49 points that game. When Kansas won the national championship in 2022, they lost to Dayton at home but went on to win the national title. Also, maybe James Madison is the next San Diego State or Florida Atlantic and just like those two schools last season, the Dukes make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament this season. This loss may not look that bad in March if James Madison goes on to win their next 20 games which is possible.
Michigan State, has tremendous depth, a hall-of-fame coach, and an outstanding backcourt. The Spartans will bounce back and they will have an opportunity to defeat a good Duke team next week and get back on track. Michigan State also has three freshmen and as the season goes on they will get valuable experience and develop into potentially great contributors for the Spartans this season. Also, Jaxon Kohler the Spartan’s best low post scorer is injured but is scheduled to be back playing in games by the end of December.
Hoggard and Akins will play better and not have a game like this again this season. The hope is also that the Spartans build from the play of Tyson Walker and Coen Carr and have other players step up throughout the season. Sissoko and Hall are upperclassmen and Carson Cooper and Tre Holloman have experience from last season so they should play better moving forward. There is still hope and one loss doesn’t stop Michigan State from achieving its goals for the season.