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Michigan State basketball: 3 keys to victory vs. Maryland

Here’s what the Spartans must do on Sunday.

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Michigan State basketball
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

What does Michigan State basketball need to do on Sunday afternoon to pick up its first road win of the season?

Michigan State basketball heads to Maryland on Sunday at noon in a massive game for their season. The Spartans have a chance to get to .500 in Big Ten play for the first time this season and string together their third win in a row.

To be frank, a win in this game would do wonders to help save the Spartans’ season.

Here are my three keys for Michigan State to come away with a win against Maryland.

1. Force Maryland to shoot 3s

This is something you don’t usually hear someone say. Basketball has turned into a 3-point shooting game in recent years and many players and teams have become elite at hitting these deep shots. Maryland however is not one of those teams.

The Terps are No. 338 out of 351 teams in 3-point shooting percentage, shooting 27.9% this season from beyond the arc. They also only have three guys who have made double-digit threes this season as well. For a Power Six basketball team in 2024, these stats are just unheard of.

So the Spartans need to take advantage of this poor shooting by clogging the paint and taking away driving lines. Force Maryland to shoot as many threes as possible, and if they happen to hit a lot, so be it.

2. Let Tyson be Tyson

Michigan State’s 76-66 win against Minnesota on Thursday was a back-and-forth, highly contested game all night. That is until Tyson Walker decided to take over. He scored 12 of MSU’s final 14 points, including 10 straight at one point. Walker also outscored Minnesota 12-4 on his own in the last four minutes of the game. This closing stretch came at the perfect time and finally allowed MSU to pull away from the Gophers.

Now I’m not suggesting we only play through Tyson all game, that would never work. But we do need to make a more conscious effort to let him be the alpha he is more often. He also needs to do a better job at attacking the rim instead of settling for jump shots because that’s exactly how his hot run to the end of the Minnesota game began.

3. Take the crowd out of the game

It’s no secret how bad MSU has been on the road this season. So much so that they haven’t even won a game outside the state of Michigan all year. That has to change against Maryland.

In order to give themselves their best chance at doing that, the Spartans need to keep the crowd out of the game. I haven’t watched much Maryland basketball this season, but I know they can sometimes have a pretty rowdy crowd. Especially when a big-time program like MSU comes to town, their fans can really get into the game.

So Michigan State needs to start fast, limit the Terps’ runs, and hold a comfortable lead all game so Maryland’s fans can’t have an impact on this game.

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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