For the first time since 2006 and 2007 Tom Izzo failed in consecutive years to take the Spartans to a Sweet 16. While it was more expected this year the Spartans would come up short, the performance put up by the freshman against Miami and Kansas gives promise for the future.
While many saw the dazzling play of Miles Bridges this season, Nick Ward was snubbed off the Big Ten all freshmen team and slid under the radar for the most part. The importance of Ward was shown late in the game against Kansas Sunday night. Ward had been playing with three fouls as the Spartans closed the Kansas lead to just one, but when he went up for an offensive board and was questionably given his fourth foul Kansas exploded. With Ward on the bench the Jayhawks increased their lead, completely demoralizing the Spartans in the final five minutes en route to a 20 point win.
The shortcomings of this team finally caught up with them. They didn’t have enough firepower to stay with Kansas with all of their weapons. Seventy points was not going to beat them.