DETROIT — Miles Bridges’ eyes remained swollen with emotions 30 minutes after the final horn had sounded on Michigan State’s stunning 55-53 loss to Syracuse on Sunday at Little Caesars Arena. Gone were the national title hopes of a team picked in the preseason to be a top contender, a team that won the Big Ten regular season championship and had only tasted defeat four times previously this season.
He knew what was on everyone’s mind, and the sophomore forward who put the NBA on hold last April to return for another season in East Lansing was ready with his answer.
What’s next for you?
“That’s the last thing I’m thinking about, honestly,” Bridges said.
It was the same sentiment expressed by sophomore forward Nick Ward and freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr., two other players who have a decision to make soon about whether they will turn pro or be back with the Spartans next season.
“I appreciate you asking the question, but no I’m not thinking about that,” said Jackson.
“It’s way too soon to tell,” said Ward, “but Spartan Nation will have a bright future.”
Sophomore guards Josh Langford and Cassius Winston said there is no doubt they will be returning.
“I definitely will be back here next year,” said Langford. “I’m telling you that’s what I want to do. I can only speak for myself but I’m sure everyone is hurting from the loss. I just speak for myself.”
Langford had 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting in an 82-78 win against Bucknell on Friday but made just 1 of 12 shots, including 1 of 7 from 3-point range, against Syracuse. His accuracy issues were emblematic of the entire Michigan State team. The Spartans made just 25.8 percent of their shots (17 of 66) and only 8 of 37 (21.6 percent) from behind the 3-point arc. They attempted 24 more shots than Syracuse thanks to 29 offensive rebounds but those extra chances resulted in only 21 points.
“Probably the saddest I’ve ever been in my life,” Bridges said. “I wanted to send my best friend, Tum Tum [Nairn], out the right way, and our seniors, Ben Carter and Gavin Schilling. And unfortunately I couldn’t do that. That was my only goal for this year, and I’m sad I couldn’t do it, but life goes on. And — I don’t know, just life goes on.”
Michigan State has signed a five-player recruiting class for next season that is ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten and No. 11 in the country according to the 247Sports composite rankings. The class includes 4-star forward Marcus Bingham Jr., 4-star point guard Foster Loyer, and 4-star forward Gabe Brown.