Northwestern was never going to win this game. I knew it, you knew it, your grandmother knew it. As an optimist, I hoped to use my space in this recap to focus on positives - things that could convince fans to make it out to Welsh-Ryan a few more times this year and witness some exciting basketball. But that didn't happen.
On Wednesday night in East Lansing, Northwestern (6-14, 1-9 B1G) got eviscerated by Michigan State (16-5, 8-2 B1G), 79-50, in a game that somehow felt worse than the final score.
The positives: Michigan State is a fun team to watch and appears significantly better than their No. 14 ranking. Cassius Winston scored 18 points and the defense limited the ‘Cats to 35% shooting.
But for Northwestern? They battled for a bit in the first half, but looked utterly defeated for the entirety of the second.
Pat Spencer led the team in scoring with just 11 points. The offense committed 15 turnovers. The defense failed to make adequate halftime adjustments, and let the Spartans’ 7-0 run going into halftime turn into an extended 20-2 run.
“Michigan State out-everything-ed us tonight,” said head coach Chris Collins postgame. “We have to learn from this and get better.”
Every year, the Wildcats have stretches where they look solid. While often outmatched by 4- and 5-star recruits, they have the inherent ability to play with good teams, and use hustle, good coaching or sheer determination to their advantage. However, they haven’t been able to sustain that energy for even the majority of a Big Ten season since that distant magical run.
Here’s to better days. Now, enjoy these Michigan State highlights (or don’t):