As many people may know Michigan State basketball is known for being a powerhouse in the College Basketball world. This season they started out as the 13th ranked team in the nation. They started the season 6-0 and moved all the way up the 4th in the country. They beat a well-known “rival” the Duke Blue Devils. Then comes the downfall. MSU took a heartbreaking loss to Northwestern and that started a three game losing streak with other losses being to Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Spartans were unranked and had no sense of what was going on. They were playing slow and sluggish and had no sense of how to run their offense.
Then, Covid hit. MSU was off for around 3 weeks due to the NCAA’s Covid-19 guidelines. After the three week break the Spartans were looking to get back on track with a win against Rutgers. That wasn’t the case. MSU scored a season low 37 points with a 30 point loss to Rutgers. Then again another 3-game losing streak with loses to Rutgers, Ohio St, and Iowa. The Spartans looked like they didn’t know how to play basketball with their NCAA tournament hopes slowing going away.
The Spartans needed a guy to step up and fast. That man is Aaron Henry. Henry started playing amazing for MSU After that final three game losing streak. The past 5 games Henry has been averaging around 21 ppg along with around 5 reb and 4 ast. That was just the spark MSU needed as they won back to back games against two top-five opponents as well as a win at Indiana. MSU then loses a tough one at Maryland where Henry Couldn’t get anything going. Other guys stepping up have been Josh Langford and Gabe brown. Gabe Brown has solidified himself as MSU’s best 3-point shooter, shooting 45.6% from beyond the arc. Josh Langford has been one of MSU’s go-to guys on offense. He is a great midrange pull-up guy that’ll hit from where you need him too.
One guy that everyone thought was going to be an All-American this year was Rocket Watts. Rockets’ last 5 games of the 2020 season were easily his best. Averaging around 16 ppg and shooting his best all season. Most thought he was going to have a breakout year and be one of the best guards in the big ten. That obviously didn’t happen and Rocket has been struggling all season. Averaging only just under 8 ppg with 2 reb and 3 ast. He hasn’t been able to have a breakout game and is part of the reason MSU is struggling this season.
The Spartans should be set for the NCAA tournament now that they beat Indiana tonight. MSU has 2 games left and they’re both against in-state rival Michigan. Michigan is currently ranked 2nd in the nation and If MSU picks up at least one of the two against UofM then they will have solidified their spot in the Big Dance. A win or two in the Big Ten Tournament will also give the Spartans a path to the Big Dance.
Photo: MSU Athletics