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Michigan State basketball: Is the PF position a major concern?




Michigan State basketball
© David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State basketball suffered a tough loss on Sunday night and the power forward position was nowhere to be found.

The Northwestern game really brought a potential problem to light that I didn’t think this team had anymore. Michigan State basketball lost to the Wildcats 88-74 but it feels like we lost the game by more.

Most of our players didn’t play well, but the power forward position was by far the biggest struggle in this game.

Let’s take a look to see how that position did against Northwestern.

Power forwards struggled

We have three guys that currently rotate minutes at the power forward position. Malik Hall is the starter with Coen Carr being his primary backup off the bench. Xavier Booker also gets some minutes as well but they can be pretty scarce.

All three players “played” last night, but looking at the boxscore might make you think otherwise. Hall, Carr, and Booker combined for 41 minutes in this game, and their combined final stat line reads zero points, three rebounds, one assist, one block, and two turnovers. Yes, you are reading that correctly, all three players combined for a stat line that wouldn’t even be close to good if they did it individually.

The most shocking from this is Hall who played 25 minutes and the only stats he registered were two turnovers and one foul. Having zero stats as a fifth-year senior is shocking.

Carr played 12 minutes and didn’t do much either. I’m more OK with shrugging his game off as he is just a freshman, but even as a first-year player, he should be much better. Booker only played four minutes so there isn’t much to draw from his performance due to the lack of playing time.

Something has to change quickly because this won’t cut it against any team on the schedule.

Malik Hall needs to step up

The answer at this position will always be Hall. He has the experience and ability to be extremely good, as showcased in his previous two outings. In the Indiana State and Penn State wins, Hall combined for 42 points, 13 rebounds, and nine assists.

Now we all knew he wouldn’t keep that productivity up, but what we didn’t expect was a complete “no show” performance. Malik needs to be someone Tom Izzo can rely on to at least have an average game for Michigan State every night. He doesn’t need to be the guy who goes out and wins a game for the Spartans, but he can’t be part of the reason why they lose.

Carr does need to be better because he will continue to get a lot of minutes. Booker too needs to be somewhat productive in the couple of minutes he gets each game. But the majority of the expectations fall on the fifth-year senior.

Thankfully for this group, they have a chance to prove themselves again soon. Michigan State will travel to Illinois on Thursday in its biggest conference game of the season so far. Win this game, and I’m sure we all will quickly forget about this ugly Northwestern loss.

Lead writer for Spartan Shadows since April 2023, writing over 450 articles. Michigan State basketball, football and recruiting expert. Class of 2019 graduate from Michigan State University specializing in Sports Management. Daily MSU runs a popular X page (@daily_msu) covering all things MSU Sports.


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