Final Horn: Michigan State 89, Michigan 73

Dylan Burkhardt

In a what was supposed to be a measuring stick week, Michigan fell flat again at home. Michigan State handed the Wolverines their second consecutive home loss in embarrassing fashion. The Spartans started hot and never cooled down, cruising to a 89-73 victory at the Crisler Center.

Michigan’s defense lost shooters in the first half before being overwhelmed inside in the second. On the offensive end, Michigan looked as flat and stagnant as it did earlier this week, struggling to create any consistent offense and sputtering from long distance.

A week ago the Wolverines were gallivanting around New York City with a 7-2 conference record, now they are searching for answers and starting to think about whether they’ll even make the NCAA tournament.

MVP: Bryn Forbes

Forbes was unstoppable in the first half, knocking in 7-of-9 three-points for 23 first half points. He nearly kept pace with Michigan on his own as the Wolverines lost him in transition, through half court sets or simple miscommunication. Forbes is one of the very best three-point shooters in the country and he lived up to his billing in the win, finishing with 29 points on 10-of-13 (8-10 3-point) shooting.

It was over when

After bombing the Wolverines in the first half, Michigan State ground Michigan to pieces in the second half. The Spartans threw the ball inside repeatedly to open the second and scored five of their first six baskets of the half with post players. The Spartans capped a 9-0 run and put the game away when Matt Costello stole a lazy pass by Duncan Robinson and took it the distance to stretch the MSU lead to 27 points.

Room for Improvement

Where do you start? This was perhaps Michigan’s worst performance of the year.

The defense defense was torched once again as it struggled to handle the number one priority: run Bryn Forbes off of the three-point line. The Spartans finished the game scoring over 1.25 points per possession on the offensive end and dominated the game in every facet.

But the Michigan offense that once looked terrific and now looks like a shell of itself. The Wolverines lack any confidence on the offensive side of the ball and are shooting threes hoping they go in. The Wolverines shot just 26 percent from long range and really failed to initiate any offense for most of the night.

  • jemblue

    We need Caris, badly. Not just because he’s a great player but because I think he’d give this team an emotional lift that it clearly needs right now. I really hope he can suit up against Minnesota.

    • robpollard

      What’s the chance of that happening? Would you give it higher than 10%? Beilein has done himself and its fans no favors by being so cagey about his status. While Izzo bitches too much about injuries, at least he gives fans/supporters a realistic view of the situation and when a player is expected to return. Heck, most board posters though — based on Beilein’s comments — that Levert would be back for Indiana or MSU. Obviously, that wasn’t the case.

      I think it’s simple — if Levert is back in the next two games, UM has a good chance of making the tourney. If he’s not, I think it’s basically 0%. We haven’t recruited well enough the last two years to build the necessary depth, and — dare I say it — UM’s vaunted player development has not kicked in either. Who has made “the leap” this year? Except for Donnal’s unexpected (even to Beilein, otherwise, he wouldn’t have pulled his redshirt) significant improvement, no one has made any sort of a leap. Most players are just a bit better, here & there. That’s a recipe for NIT-level basketball.

  • gobluemd16

    Looking at the remaining schedule, this team is in mighty danger of missing the tourney. Basically a must-win Wednesday. What is especially discouraging is how we got ran off our home court twice in one week. We played much, much better at Purdue and Iowa earlier in B1G season. Clearly need Caris back ASAP. Guys are tired and not performing. As I said three games ago, Duncan’s shooting had become a problem and hes basically fallen off a cliff in the last couple weeks.

  • Mike

    Does this site have viruses or is the advertising that bad? Every time I try to read article on iPhone I get taken to different sites claiming I won iPhone.

    Time to hire a defensive assistant. Team has consistently been horrific on that side of the ball and unless we shoot the lights out we can’t hang with any team who is decent offensively.

    • Chris De Sana

      Site makes my computers drag like crazy as well.

      • rlcBlue

        Things got much better for me once I installed an ad blocker (I’m using Adblock Plus for Chromium on Linux – you’ll have to research the best option for your environment). There are some very ill-behaved ads being served up to the page.

  • Quick Darshan

    Wonder if Duncan is hitting the freshman wall as a first-time D1 player. Maybe time to bring Dawkins back into the starting lineup.

    • Chezaroo

      Do you have any eligibility left? We need somebody that is “Quick” to help our D.

  • Mattski

    Came home from my daughter’s soccer game, saw us losing by 14-15 to start the second half, saw us miss wide open shots by Robinson and Irvin, headed back out into the nice Florida sunshine. No legs, no reserves, no confidence. Hard to see where the positives are going to come from. I wonder whether Beilein just foresaw us getting massacred today anyway, and withheld Caris. Not sure getting him back no changes the complexion too much, anyway. If we could have re-integrated him through that stretch with Rutgers and PSU things might look a little different, but now. . .

    Maybe my memory is hazy, but I fell like last year’s team, despite being a pretty bad one, had a lot more pluck than this. Agree that a loss to Minnesota thrusts us into very grim territory vis-a-vis the NCAAs. But I’m not sure we proceed far there under present conditions, anyway.

    I’m not that down on Beilein (do wonder how much fire in the belly he may have left), given the NBA losses and injuries. Personally, I love the way his offenses play when he’s got the talent. And I think that the people who feel his job’s in jeopardy are tripping. But next year will certainly be a turning point, for better or for worse. And Belein desperately needs a big man to prove out. McGary and JoMo were not only proficient, but had personalities and gumption, to boot. Not finding that in Doyle and Donnal, for the most part.

  • Champswest

    One thing that jumped out at me today was the difference in defending the other team’s 3 point ace. Valentine stuck on Robinson to the point that Duncan couldn’t even get a shot off. Meanwhile, our guys guarding Forbes, usually Walton, would drop off to help on the bigs or a driver and the ball would get kicked out to a wide open Forbes. He was catching and shooting in rhythm all day. You can’t let a shooter get in rhythm. MSU also did a better job of running Forbes off of screens.