3. Is defense key?
Tom Izzo’s squad has impressively kept all their opponents under 80 points, and when winning, has kept their opponents to 55 points and below. There is something to be said here about the defensive strengths of the team such as the decent turnover rate of opponents, blocked shots, and overall disruptiveness not allowing teams open looks especially from three. Their opponents are averaging just 29% from three and a NCAA 17th best 42.7% from the field.
Their ability to turn teams over and get out in transition has always been a strong suit, and clearly on that end of the floor, there have been little issues outside of the rebounding and second chance points allowed. Holding Duke and Arizona and even JMU to a limited score is a promising thing, which may suggest the issues fall in their ability to shoot from deep and be efficient doing so.
When all is said and done, there is a path to righting the ship. This certainly has not been what the Spartans wanted, but nonetheless is where they find themselves. Michigan State will continue to be tested through the month of December with a road game agains a 7-1 Nebraska, a home game against #8 Baylor, and then a home game against an underrated Oakland Golden Grizzlies team immediately following this Wisconsin loss.
While this is their worst loss of the season, it says just as much about their opponents talent as it does their weak spots. While it is safe to say they are underperforming right now, don’t discredit Tom Izzo’s and this roster’s ability to get back on track as the season progresses.