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Michigan State Basketball: How can the Spartans fix itself for rest of 2023-24 season?

Michigan State Basketball has been struggling so far this season. How do they fix themselves and start playing like the preseason top 5 team they are?

Michigan State's Coen Carr dunks against Southern Indiana during the second half on Thursday, Nov.
Michigan State's Coen Carr dunks against Southern Indiana during the second half on Thursday, Nov. / Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA
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1. Better play from Big Men

Let’s just address the elephant in the room the front court for the Spartans has been MIA for most of the year. In the last two games against Big Ten opponents the two big men for Michigan State have been terrible. Mady Sissoko who is the starter and when he is right is one of the best defensive big men in the country has scored 2 points and 4 rebounds over the last two games. Sophomore Carson Cooper has not fared much better in the last two games Cooper has scored 5 points and 7 rebounds. The lack of production on offense is one thing but is the inability to slow anyone down that is losing Michigan State games. 

The frontcourts of both Wisconsin (26 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists) and Nebraska (28 points, 17 rebounds, and 7 assists) have flat out dominated in the paint. Juwan Gary set a career high in points with 20 and Nebraska center Rienk Mast had 14 rebounds and 6 assists. He dominated the game all night long especially on the glass. Mast only had 8 points, but it was two crucial buckets when the game was very much in the balance that turned it. Sissoko and Cooper provided zero defensive resistance in that game and there were points when both were unplayable. Sissoko only got 13 minutes and Cooper only got 12. If you were not looking for them on the floor you never would have known, they were even out there.

It has gotten so bad that coach Izzo is ready to have a big man by committee. Everyone who is an able body that is big is going to get a chance to play. That includes 5 star recruit Xavier Booker. Booker was not currently a factor in the rotation for the Spartans and a lot of that is due to that fact he may not be ready. Not all 5 stars are created equal and in the limited minutes that Booker has gotten the game has moved very fast for him. Izzo has spoke highly of him and his ability to practice hard and that will earn you minutes. Honestly, if Booker comes in and scores and rebounds and can provide some defense, he is already an upgrade. He is going to get a trial by fire tomorrow against Baylor.