Michigan State basketball is back on track so far this year so why are we seeing a Spartan resurgence in 2022-23?
Michigan State basketball looks to be back on track with the fast 3-1 start. It will travel to the PK85 Tournament to play No. 18 Alabama on Thursday at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Before that happens. let’s take a look back at what has sparked this resurgence and cause of optimism for MSU fans over the first four games.
1. Perimeter defense
This year’s guards and wings of AJ Hoggard, Tyson Walker, Jaden Akins, Pierre Brooks, and Malik Hall have been able to keep the opposing guards out of the line and forcing the opposing guards to take difficult shots.
Looking back at the game against Villanova, MSU guards held Caleb Daniels to 13 points on 14 shots and held the other four guards to a combined 18 points. MSU struggled with keeping Kentucky guard Sahvir Wheeler out of the lane in the first half but with some adjustments, they did a much better job. In that game, they also held two really good shooters in CJ Fredrick and Antonio Reeves to a combined 10 points.
This will be crucial if MSU wants to defend at a high level against all of Alabama’s guards and wings. Alabama is averaging 33 three-point attempts over its first four games.
This team has been able to keep most people off the glass not named Oscar Tshiebwe.
A major reason for the resurgence of rebounding has been the guards. A key example of this was looking at the last game against Villanova when Michigan State’s two leading rebounders were Hoggard with eight and Akins with five. In the prior years with wings like Gabe Brown and Max Christie, they were very inconsistent about going into traffic and getting rebounds. This hasn’t just been a one-game instance this year either with AJ averaging 4.5 rebounds, Akins with 4.0 rebounds, and Hall with 5.3 rebounds per game.
3. Three-point shooting
Taking out the game that was played on a literal ship, this team has shot over 40 percent from 3-point range over the other three games. Villanova decided to sag off of MSU and try to take away the lobs and driving lanes, so Michigan State shot 52 percent from three on 25 attempts. Villanova made some adjustments to tighten up their defense and take away some of the MSU threes, so they got more done in the lane.
This basketball team has very high potential as a team to shoot over 40 percent from three on the season with multiple guys able to shoot it.
4. Point guard play
Hoggard and Walker have dominated at the point guard position taking this from a major inconsistency over the past two years to a major strength this year. Hoggard leads the Big Ten in assists with 8.3 per game and Walker is averaging 4.5. These MSU guards are getting this team into great offensive sets and dishing out assists at a super high level.
If MSU can limit the turnovers and keep up this assist rate, this team is going to be tough to handle.
If these items continue to become strengths and continue to grow throughout the season this MSU team can be extremely dangerous going forward into Big Ten play. This team has the potential to lead the Big Ten with these strengths and make it very difficult for other opponents. Going forward these four reasons will continue to be the resurgence of Michigan State basketball if it can continue these going forward.