Balance, Defense, Limiting Turnovers - MSU Succeeding In All Three Areas

Balance, Defense, Limiting Turnovers - MSU Succeeding In All Three Areas

Basketball

Balance, Defense, Limiting Turnovers - MSU Succeeding In All Three Areas

Michigan State (7-2, 2-0) has almost worked through this challenging early stretch of games. The Spartans face Florida this Saturday in Gainesville before a bit of a break in the schedule. The team has played with balance, defensive focus, and a commitment to limiting turnovers over the 2-0 start in B1G play.

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Take a look at the way Michigan State has gotten scoring performances from a balanced collection of players over the last couple of games:

78-67 victory over Rutgers:

  • Cassius Winston – 22 points.
  • Nick Ward – 20 points.
  • Joshua Langford – 14 points.
  • Xavier Tillman – 11 points.

90-68 victory over Iowa:

  • Nick Ward – 26 points.
  • Kenny Goins – 19 points.
  • Joshua Langford – 14 points.
  • Xavier Tillman – 14 points.
  • Cassius Winston – 8 points.

On top of that, how about the overall defensive focus and intensity in each of these two victories?

Michigan State applied ferocious and suffocating defense against Iowa all night.

The Hawkeyes finished the night 21 of 64 from the floor for a 32.8 field goal percentage.

Against Rutgers, the Spartans played defense that limited the Scarlet Knights to 24 of 65 from the floor for a 36.9% clip.

And, of course, the focus on limiting turnovers were as important as anything else in each of these first two Big Ten victories.

Against Rutgers, Michigan State played cleanly and efficiently in turning it over only 7 times.

In the blowout win over Iowa, the Spartans protected the ball effectively again in turning it over only 8 times.

Perhaps most impressive in looking at Michigan State’s important 2-0 start to the Big Ten schedule is the way Cassius Winston, specifically, has taken care of the ball.

In the two games that the Spartans have won over the last handful of days, Winston has a grand total of one turnover.

That’s one turnover in consecutive games for the point guard who is becoming a national star in front of our eyes.

So, three things are worth recognizing at this point for this Michigan State team that is 7-2 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten so far:

  • Scoring balance.
  • Defensive focus, tenacity, and intensity all game long.
  • Limiting turnovers.

It sounds simple – but there isn’t anything simple about making sure these areas are home runs for the Spartans.

Winston will have his share of turnovers due to the very nature of being the team’s floor general but it seems as if the two games in which Michigan State turned it over 24 (against Texas) and 17 (against Louisville) times have had a very real and positive impact on Winston’s approach to leading this team.

As this season starts to roll along, it appears as though there are more offensive options and weapons than Izzo is accustomed to having up and down his bench.

The defense will depend on the level of focus and intensity the team is able to generate night in and night out.

Balance, defense, and limiting turnovers.

If this team continues to do what it’s been doing in these three areas, it will be a warm winter for Spartan fans.

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