Disaster Averted, But I Still Don’t Feel Good About Michigan State Basketball
For a while there Tuesday night, it looked like Michigan State was going to follow up its historic collapse in the final two minutes at Iowa over the weekend with an even more embarrassing feat — getting blown out and beaten up by Nebraska.
In basketball, not football!
But despite being down by as much as 15 points and making under-talented, no name-player for Nebraska after under-talented no-name player for Nebraska look like Meadowlark Lemon in the first half, MSU avoided outright disaster and beat the Huskers, 80-64, in Lincoln on Nebraska's Senior Night.
The Spartans completely flipped the script, outscoring Nebraska 35-12 over the final 13 and a half minutes. They did it by shooting over 70 percent from behind the arc in the second half: MSU was 12 for 17 on 3-pointers in the latter 20 minutes Tuesday night after shooting just 4 for 12 (33.3 percent) in the first half.
So how do we feel?
Well, better than we did for the middle 20 minutes of the game. And certainly better than we would have felt had Nebraska completed what it started.
You could take heart in how the Spartans responded on two different fronts Tuesday night. First, they didn't back down from the challenge when way behind for much of the middle portion of the game while the home team, on its Senior Night, was firing on all cylinders and its arena was electric.
And secondly, you could view Michigan State's response from a higher altitude in context with how they lost at Iowa on Saturday. Given how the Hawkeyes took a pin to the Spartans' balloon late in that game, it would've been even easier for MSU to close up shop and warm up the buses extra early once Nebraska opened up that big first-half lead.
But you could also see it as a microcosm of who and what the Spartans are this season: Wildly inconsistent, completely unpredictable, and dangerously volatile. One minute, they could be shooting over 80 percent from 3 on the road, only to have blown a 13-point lead literally two minutes later. They could also go from seeing Giddy Potts reincarnated on their opponent's side on any given night to relentlessly raining 3s on said opponent just a few minutes later.
That's not a good formula in a sport that culminates in a single-elimination tournament.
I'll take the win, with a feeling of exhausted relief instead of excitement.
But hey, it's officially March now so...