Michigan State basketball falls at Illinois: 3 quick takes

1. A missed alternative for the Spartans, who bought baited into a distinct type of recreation

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – For some time Friday evening, Michigan State appeared prefer it is likely to be on its technique to, maybe, its most spectacular win of the season. All it needed to do was do what it has been doing greatest — end video games.

For the primary time shortly, the Spartans have been outplayed on each ends within the ultimate minutes, damage by the absence of Malik Hall within the ultimate a number of minutes, after he rolled his left ankle once more. Illinois scored on its ultimate seven possessions, helped by three offensive rebounds, turning a 60-60 recreation right into a 75-66 Illini win. They have been more durable, extra poised and extra environment friendly.

It’s not a type of losses that is the top of the world — or the top of something — for MSU. But it is a misplaced alternative. Because, for an extended whereas, the Spartans have been the higher crew after weathering the preliminary power within the constructing.

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MSU confirmed it could play in opposition to the Big Ten’s most athletic groups and in essentially the most troublesome settings. But I feel we knew that. The query was, may they hold being the higher crew down the stretch? Could they impose their method on Illinois, transferring the ball, hitting photographs? They did not. They did not make a single 3-pointer within the recreation, ending 0-for-7. Instead, they practically beat the Illini at their recreation — a extra one-on-one fashion.

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Weird recreation. A tricky matchup recreation for MSU. A number of good protection. Some good moments for the Spartans. But in the long run a missed likelihood — a professional likelihood — to win at a spot only a few Big Ten groups will win.

2. MSU not often performs a recreation like that. Even traditionally.

Some of it you may chalk as much as a highway statistician. But MSU completed that recreation with 4 assists on 28 made buckets. Dating again so far as I had time to look in the course of the recreation — 10 years — the Spartans have not had fewer assists in a recreation or come near such a ratio.

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