In what was thought weeks ago to be a matchup of Big Ten goliaths,, Maryland and Michigan State’s matchup on Saturday lived up to the billing. Michigan State defeated Maryland, 74-65, to snap a three game losing streak. Here are MyMindOnSports’ Troy Jefferson five takeaways.
1. Michigan State is still a top tier team
After a 13-0 start, Michigan State had lost four of its last seven games and was on a three game losing streak. The sky was falling in East Lansing. Championship aspirations turned into “maybe next year” sighs, all that changed on Saturday. MSU showed that they can be the team that took down Kansas and Providence earlier in the season. In front of College Gameday, MSU traded blows with Maryland before ultimately pulling away in the final seconds. When it was needed the most, MSU came out and made sure they got the job done. This win will look real nice come tournament resumé time.
2. Maryland is as good as advertised
It’s a shame one of these teams had to lose, playing against MSU in East Lansing after three straight losses wasn’t going to be easy for any team. Mark Turgeon had his team ready to go and to only lose by nine was impressive seeing as how Melo Trimble didn’t get help from virtually anyone else. I don’t think Jake Layman is going 2-of-9 often or Rasheed Sulaimon will shoot 2-of-11 everyday. Not to mention, Diamond Stone only had six points. The Terps have so many different weapons and really put opposing defenses in a bind, I think this game was merely a product of wrong team, wrong night.
3. Melo Trimble is even better in his second season
Well, if you didn’t already know it… Melo Trimble is really good. Trimble had 24 points on 9/17 shooting and had seven rebounds. Trimble was Maryland’s do-everything-guy on Saturday night, every time they needed a big basket he was there. Unfortunately, he just didn’t get much help. Trimble is one of those guys that you don’t have to worry about, more times than not, he’ll bring his A game.
4. Denzel Valentine and Matt Costello are a testament to staying in college all four years
In a college basketball world of one and dones, it’s refreshing to see guys like Valentine and Costello work through deficiencies and come out as seniors as changed players. Valentine struggled with his jump shot and on ball defense his freshman season, those are now strengths of his. Costello struggled to even get minutes and he was the MVP of Saturday’s game. Valentine finished with 19 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. Costello had 15 points, 12 rebounds, six of which were offensive. Today, we saw patience and hard work rewarded.
5. Terps need to toughen up
First off, I’m not calling Maryland soft, they competed all night long and handled blow after blow from Michigan State. It’s only January and by no means are the Terps a complete product, they might even look back at this game as a building block in a memorable season. But on Saturday night, it just looked like Michigan State wanted it more wouldn’t be denied. The Spartans outrebounded the Terps, 46-36 and grabbed 17 offensive rebounds. Tom Izzo and toughness have always been synonymous and you could see why today. Maryland will have to carve out their own toughness if they want to go deep into the tournament come March.