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Michigan State Spartans beat Northwestern 54-40, but is MSU able to win big?

No. 4 Michigan State is certainly not short on wins at this point. They're 16-1 overall and 5-0 in the Big Ten Conference, but in the grand scheme, something just doesn't feel right. On Thursday, Spartans star sophomore Gary Harris reiterated that thought despite his team's 54-40 win over Northwestern earlier in the week.

Michigan State sophomore Gary Harris scored 14 points against Northwestern during the Spartans' 54-40 win over the Wildcats on January 15th.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

"We know that we weren't playing as well as we can offensively," Harris said. "We had to do something defensively to kind of get us going. Get stops and get the lead. That's what we did. That's how we pulled away from them."

Harris had 14 points to lead the team's offense, but on the whole, some of the numbers still aren't adding up. A team with this much talent, despite the injuries that have plagued them, should be able to pull away with so much more... shouldn't they?

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo gave Northwestern its due, but despite his insisting Northwestern was just a team able to bring the Spartans down a bit, Green and White fans can't help but shake this eerie feeling that something may be coming unhinged withing the MSU game plan.

"(Northwestern) got loose balls," Izzo said. "They did the things they've got to do. It's a sign of a good young team that's playing hard. It's the sign of a good coach who's getting them to play hard. I think there's a lot of positive things here. We have a good team. We're not playing real good right now."

Adreian Payne is still out for Michigan State with a foot injury and another one of the Spartans who is currently fighting an illness is Branden Dawson, though Dawson was able to play against Northwestern and still mustered 11 rebounds and three blocks. Coach Izzo is beginning to feel some of his players' pains.

"Frustrating for him," Izzo said. "Although I have to admit he actually had better suggestions on the bench than he had in the games. I appreciated him as an assistant. I thought he did a good job in the huddles, and sometimes guys grow when they don't play. They appreciate playing."

As for Payne, Izzo has seen a lot from his top talent in the locker room despite his being unable to play on the court recently.

"That kid's grown up so much. It's been a good year for him," Izzo added.

You can follow MSU writer, Michael Ferro, at

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