Michigan State was delivered their third loss of the season and the Big Ten campaign tonight here in Madison, WI. The bad news started before the game when Izzo announced Tum Tum Nairn the starting point guard was out for at least two weeks with his plantar fasciitis in his foot and ended with a 77-76 loss to the Badgers.
Denzel Valentine had 18 points and 13 boards for the double and double and fellow senior Matt Costello also joined him in that elusive club adding 18 points and 13 boards. Unfortunately that was not enough.
Wisconsin had 15 fouls while MSU had 28 and that led to the Badgers making 12 more free throws on the night than the Spartans. Wisconsin was 29-36 from the line and MSU was 12-16. Terry Wymer (one official) would call something on the Wisconsin offensive end only to have the same foul ignored on the other. It was mind boggling.
Izzo said of the discrepancy that, â€œI donâ€™t know if it was a well officiated game. We had our chances to win the game and we didnâ€™t. I am not going to sit up here and complain about the fouls. That had nothing to do with the five or six missed layups! Today there was more fouls than Carter has liver pills and it was unbelievable. We just didnâ€™t do the things to win, they did.â€
Wisconsin interim coach Greg Gard said of the contest that, â€œWe have to get to the line. We could have gotten there more.â€
Izzo went on to lament the loss adding that, â€œOne of the stranger games I have been in. I think the younger coach out coached the older coach. One of the strangest games I have coached in. Koenig is a Spartan killer. They made a lot of free throws and that was the difference in the game.â€
Denzel Valentine said of the game afterward in the locker room that, â€œWe are playing in the Big Ten. Possessions matter. We had two five point leads in the second half we gave back. It sucks that we lost up four with 30 seconds to go.â€
Spartan point guard Tum Tum Nairn has struggled with his health for some time now. Izzo said of watching Nairn in pain and how he told him he was sitting. â€œI am not going to treat you like an inhumane dog. The last three weeks have been tough on him. I have no idea. Iâ€™m talking a week, Iâ€™m talking a month I am talking a week. He will definitely be out a little bit.â€
With tonightâ€™s loss, MSU head coach Tom Izzo remains one Big Ten win away from tying former ICONIC Purdue Coach Gene Keady for second-most wins at a Big Ten school with 512. Izzo still stands a long way from former ICONIC Indiana Coach Bobby Knight who has 661.
The Spartans record for the season falls to 16-3 (3-3) while the Spartans look for answers. Not only on what they can change but for a reason for hope as college basketballâ€™s new emphasis on fouling is ruining the college game.
Michigan State returns to action on Wednesday night when they host the Nebraska Cornhuskers. That game tips of at 6:30 PM and can be seen on BTN.