Ten Games In, Some Stats Start To Tell A Story For 8-2 Spartans

Ten Games In, Some Stats Start To Tell A Story For 8-2 Spartans

Basketball

Ten Games In, Some Stats Start To Tell A Story For 8-2 Spartans

Through ten games, #10 Michigan State is looking like a team that will compete for the Big Ten Championship.  At 8-2 overall, 2-0 in the Big Ten, we can look at some statistics and start to see some trends and signs that point to where the Spartans need to improve. 

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It might seem as if the Michigan State basketball season has only just started – but at 8-2, Michigan State is nearly a third of the way through the 31 games that make up the Spartans’ regular season schedule.

There will be games played in the Big Ten Tournament as well as the NCAA Tournament but the season is starting to move along and with ten games in the books, it’s fair to take a breath and examine some of the ways Michigan State is performing statistically.

Take a look at the major statistical categories and see if anything jumps out at you:

  • Field Goal % – .492, 29th in the nation.
  • 3-point Field Goal % – .395, 25th in the nation.
  • Free Throw % – .716, 111th in the nation.
  • Offensive Rebounds – 126, 27th in the nation.
  • Defensive Rebounds – 306, 13th in the nation.
  • Total Rebounds – 432, 13th in the nation.
  • Assists – 193, 3rd in the nation.
  • Blocks – 48, 26th in the nation.
  • Turnovers – 132, 224th in the nation.
  • Points Per Game – 84.8, 21st in the nation.

In most of these categories, the Spartans are in decent shape compared to the rest of the teams across the college basketball landscape.

For instance, the Spartans are averaging 84.8 points per game through ten contests and that’s good for 21st in the nation.

Not bad.

When it comes to shooting from 3-point range, Michigan State is a decent 39.5%, good for 25th in the nation.

That’ll be just fine.

But what are the categories that sort of tell the story for this team so far?

It’s easy to pick out the stats where the Spartans are among the nation’s best.

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Michigan State is 13th in the nation in total rebounds.

That probably gives Tom Izzo ten seconds of peace and quiet when he’s driving home at night.

And while the sense heading into the season was that Cassius Winston had a chance to be recognized as one of the nation’s premiere floor generals, it’s probably a very pleasant surprise for Izzo to see that his team is 3rd in the nation when it comes to assists.

This team is proving to be very selfless and exceptional when it comes to distributing the ball both within the half-court set and in transition.

The problem areas for these Spartans are easy to spot.

Michigan State is 111th in the nation in free throw percentage at 71.6%.

And despite two straight games (at Rutgers and at home against Iowa) where the Spartans looked like they were cleaning up the tendency to turn the ball over too much, Michigan State is 224th in all of college basketball when it comes to turnovers.

It’s never as simple as saying something as simple as this:

Make the free throws and don’t turn the ball over.

But with the way this team has shown that it has a very balanced scoring attack to go along with a tenacity on the boards, it might actually be as simple as improving at the line and taking better care of the ball for this team to win big this season.

In Saturday’s 63-59 win at Florida, Michigan State committed 15 turnovers.

The Spartans showed toughness in being able to get the victory despite not taking care of the ball.

But with the rugged Big Ten season right around the corner, this team knows that a winnable game will quickly go south and become a loss if the Spartans turn the ball over 15 times.

So, through ten games, maybe it is as simple as saying this about these Spartans:

Get the free throw percentage up to 75% and limit the turnovers to, say, 10 a game.

Maybe that leads to another banner being raised at the Breslin Center.

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