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Michigan State basketball: 3 areas of necessary improvement in January

MSU has some necessary improvements to make in January.

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Michigan State basketball
© JESSICA GALLAGHER/ Staff / USA TODAY NETWORK

It’s been an up-and-down start to the season for Michigan State basketball and here’s where it needs to improve in January.

Michigan State basketball is coming off an impressive 18-point victory last night over Nebraska. There are still three massive ways this team needs to improve to get through this gauntlet of a January.

1. Getting to the free throw line 

This Michigan State team’s struggles to get to the free throw line with a lack of a true post-up presence. MSU only got to the free throw line six times against Nebraska which isn’t a big deal because they shot 48 percent from the field. But getting to the free throw line will help this team when they struggle from the field. The other issue with this team not getting to the line is they are shooting 73.5 percent good for 93rd in the country. This team needs to get in the lane and attack the rim to get to the line. Also, posting up AJ Hoggard and Malik Hall going forward on any mismatches should help them get to the line as well.

2. Jaxon Kohler, Pierre Brooks defensively 

Going into the season, we knew this wouldn’t be a strong suit for either one of these guys coming into the season. Both could use some better conditioning and another year in the strength program. But, for this season these two are going to have to be better on the defensive end for this team to win some tough games in January. Both can bring quite a bit on the offensive end and there is no denying that, but they can’t be a net negative when on the floor.

Going forward you may see a small ball lineup with Hauser playing the five and Malik playing the four if Jaxon doesn’t figure it out defensively.

3. Offensive rebounding

This team has struggled to get on the offensive glass other than their last game against Nebraska. In fact, Michigan State basketball had 14 offensive rebounds which was tied for the second most this season. Michigan State has only recorded 10-plus offensive rebounds in 10 out of its 14 games this year. This will help MSU get easy second-chance points which can help spark the offense if they are not hitting shots.

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