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Michigan State basketball: Margin of victory has been shocking this season

The Spartans have been winning in blowout fashion.

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Michigan State basketball
© Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State basketball has been beating teams by a wide margin this season in their wins. It’s been almost shocking.

After three straight wins, Michigan State basketball has improved its record to 12-7 this season. It’s not a great record, but certainly better than it was. When looking at those 12 wins, one interesting tidbit stands out.

The margin of victory in wins

Out of Michigan State’s 12 wins this season, 11 have come by double-digits. The Spartans’ 61-59 win against Maryland on Sunday was their first win by single-digits all season. Overall, Michigan State has won their 12 games by an average margin of 22 points.

Here is the margin of victory in each of those 12 games.

  • 23 (Southern Indiana)
  • 20 (Butler)
  • 32 (Alcorn State)
  • 31 (Georgia Southern)
  • 24 (Baylor)
  • 17 (Oakland)
  • 44 (Stony Brook)
  • 12 (Indiana State)
  • 31 (Penn State)
  • 18 (Rutgers)
  • 10 (Minnesota)
  • 2 (Maryland)

That number seems extremely high to me. I know a lot of these wins are against subpar opponents, but a 22-point margin on average is extremely impressive.

All of these wins weren’t even against bad opponents either. MSU’s three best non-conference wins all came by double-digits including Butler by 20, Indiana State by 12, and Baylor by 24. Now those are three very good wins.

The flip side doesn’t look as great

Now you might be asking what MSU’s record looks like in games decided by single-digits. That is where things get a little dicey for the Spartans. Michigan State is 1-5 this season when the game is decided by nine points or fewer. That one win came in the last outing against Maryland.

Now don’t get me wrong, winning big is always preferred, but it’s also nice to see MSU win close games as well. Whether it be in games against really good opponents like Arizona and Duke or in games when Michigan State isn’t playing its best, you hope to see the Spartans win more of these close games.

That is the next step for this team: finding ways to win close games. Not every game will be a blowout, so they need to start finding ways to win the close ones. Hopefully the two-point win against Maryland is the turning point on this front, but I’m guessing we will find out quickly.

The Spartans’ next game is on the road against No. 13 Wisconsin. I think they can win this game, but winning by double-digits seems unlikely. If MSU is going to win this game, it likely will have to be by single digits. Michigan State basketball hasn’t been good doing that this season, but hopefully it’ll start seeing more results like the Maryland game when it finds itself in a close 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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