Michigan State 69 - Michigan 55: Outta Luck

Andy Lyons

Michigan can't recover from a slow start and ultimately falls to Michigan State, and likely out of the number one seed in the NCAA tournament.

After a quick Nik Stauskas three to open the scoring, Michigan saw its two big men commmit three fouls in 19 seconds of gametime.  With 18:24 left in the game  the Wolverines were already in trouble.  Max Bielfeldt ended up playing double digit minutes in the first half, and the Wolverines struggled on offense.

It wasn't all on the foul trouble, as Michigan's wings failed to get any dribble penetration to generate shots inside.  Michigan found itself time and again settling for long jump shots and contested looks in the lane.  This also led to an uncharacteristic number of turnovers, which Michigan State was all to happy to convert into points the other way.

Michigan;s defense wasn't on the whole bad, but with Morgan confined to the bench early, Michigan fell into a deep rebounding hole that let Michigan State's offense extend its lead despite a bad day shooting from outside (2/17).

When Michigan needed its best scorers down the stretch, it got little.  Both Caris LeVert and Nik Stauskas struggled in the second half, each scoring just one field goal in the final twenty minutes.

Michigan State seems to be peaking at the right time.  The Spartans played a full game of active perimeter defense and made shots inside time and again.  The Spartans also did a phenomenal job not allowing Michigan to string together consecutive baskets to start a run.  Every time Michigan found a way to make a play to turn the tide, Michigan State had an answer.

Michigan will know shortly whether this game cost the Wolverines a number one seed.  Whether that comes to fruition or not (and it likely will), Michigan should still get a favorable tournament seeding, and this team is still playing basketball at a high level.

It's almost tourney time.

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