After a 68-60 loss to No. 18 Ohio State on Sunday, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo apparently has had enough of his team’s recent lapses. The veteran coach questioned the Spartans’ toughness following Sunday’s loss.
Just a week ago the Michigan State was the No. 4 team in college basketball, and was about to welcome No. 1 Indiana to the Breslin Center for a huge showdown. A win would have given the Spartans sole possession of first place in the Big Ten, and put them in a great position to secure a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. That seems like a long time ago at this point.
On Sunday the Spartans wilted down the stretch against Ohio State in Columbus. The Buckeyes outscored the Spartans by 14 points in the second half en route to a second straight loss. It was the first time all season Michigan State has dropped consecutive games, after a close loss to Indiana at home last Tuesday.
The Spartans jumped out to a 36-27 lead just 90 seconds into the second half on Sunday, but then Ohio State responded with a 24-5 run that turned the game on its head.
Izzo had the following to say about his team after the game:
“I haven’t seen the same grit since after that Michigan game (a 75-52 win three games ago). We’re not coming not playing hard. We played hard against Indiana, they just beat us. I just thought today you give up that many layups – 57 percent shooting in the second half – they should run me out of town.”
Izzo took his share of the blame, then continued:
“The problem is when you’re in a league where you play three, four or five ranked teams in a row, it takes a toll. We did it a little early, and we’re doing it again now. It all depends on how the schedule falls. You’ve got to survive.”
The Spartans are a very balanced, deep team with a ton of talent. But their back-to-back losses show that there are no breaks in the Big Ten. Teams have to bring it every night and the Spartans have been just a half-step slow over the past week.
Now Michigan State now trails Indiana by two games in the loss column with only two weeks left in the regular season.