EAST LANSING, Mich. — No. 4 Michigan State (16-3 overall, 4-2 Big Ten) suffered its first home loss of the year, dropping its only regular season game against rival Michigan (15-4, 4-2) on Saturday, falling 82-72.
Michigan finished with 7 turnovers while forcing 18, leading to a 26-7 advantage in points off those turnovers. Moe Wagner finished with a game-high 27 points along with 4 rebounds for the Wolverines.
Michigan State got 19 points and 6 blocks from Jaren Jackson Jr. Miles Bridges also scored 19, but he had 4 turnovers. Cassius Winston was the third Spartans player to finish in double figures with 11 points.
WHY: The same struggles that haunted Michigan State against Ohio State and Rutgers showed up again. An aggressive man-to-man defense left the Spartans unable to create anything on offense. And this time around, they could not even defend 1-on-1. Blame can fall on a lot of players, but coach Tom Izzo should get the brunt of it. Regardless of how well they prepared in practice, the Spartans have not been ready to play recently. Its start to the first and second halves of this game proved that.
WHAT IT MEANS: Early in the season, some pundits wondered aloud whether Michigan State could run the table in the Big Ten. One week after the Spartans’ loss to Ohio State, it has become very evident that winning the conference is not a foregone conclusion, as many have assumed. Their resume for the NCAA Tournament does not look as good either now that their win over Notre Dame does not look as impressive.
WHO STARRED: Moe Wagner. When Michigan State found someone who could be effective on offense, that person could not defend Michigan’s best player. Wagner pulled the Spartans’ bigs out to the perimeter and drove right past them. Then he posted them up and hit a fadeaway jumper. Nick Ward’s inability to defend Wagner kept him out for large stretches of the game.
— Michigan On BTN (@MichiganOnBTN) January 13, 2018
WHO STUMBLED: Winston. Michigan State needed him to run any semblance of offense, and it had trouble doing so all game. But coach Tom Izzo kept going to Tum Tum Nairn because Winston had trouble defending anyone, Zavier Simpson in particular. Winston finished with a season-low 2 assists to go with 4 turnovers.
WHO WAS THERE: An Izzone that seemed rather sleepy showed up in large numbers. Joining them in the lower bowl was much of the Michigan State football team as well as recruits. Four-star Spartans basketball signee Marcus Bingham Jr. also took in the game with his family.
WHO IS NEXT: Michigan State will get yet another home game when it welcomes Indiana on Friday. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. ET on FS1.
There's your final. Very much deserved win for Michigan. pic.twitter.com/s5R81LQosw
— Luke Srodulski (@lsrodulski) January 13, 2018