Michigan State entered the Big Ten portion of its schedule as a Top 5 team. The Spartans are now in danger of sliding out of the Top 25 rankings after a surprising losing streak.
The 17th-ranked Spartans lost their first three conference games for the first time since the 2001-02 season. They have never lost their first four Big Ten games since Tom Izzo became coach in 1995.
Michigan State (6-3, 0-3 Big Ten) will look to regain its earlier form on Saturday when it visits Nebraska (4-6, 0-3).
"Are we a little shaken? Probably. Have we lost a little confidence? Probably," Izzo said Thursday. "We think we're going to do some things to get back on track, and that's the way we've practiced."
The Spartans were trounced 81-56 by No. 21 Minnesota on Monday as they shot just 25.7 percent from the field.
"We're totally disappointed to start out 0-3 and yet we're trying to keep things in perspective," Izzo said. "We lost to three Top 20 teams in Minnesota, Northwestern and Wisconsin. That hasn't been the norm. ... There's no question this league's the best it's been in 100 years."
Izzo is still trying to figure out who should initiate the attack. He moved Rocket Watts from the point guard to shooting guard and started Foster Loyer at the point at Minnesota. A.J. Hoggard could see his role expand as the playmaker.
"I kind of force-fed Rocket, and he did some real good things and he did some things that weren't quite as good at that position," Izzo said. "I envision him playing a lot more at the 2 (shooting guard)."
Nebraska is also seeking its first conference victory this season. The Cornhuskers have lost each of their Big Ten games by double digits, including a 90-54 thrashing at No. 25 Ohio State on Wednesday.
"You've got to find a way to continue to compete and battle, and we'll see what we're made of," Cornhuskers coach Fred Hoiberg said. "We're playing a team on Saturday (that) just went through something we went through. We'll see who's going to respond to it."
The Cornhuskers' offense has gone into a deep freeze. Nebraska shot 33.3 percent against Wisconsin, 39.1 percent against Michigan and a season-low 28.3 percent against Ohio State.
The Buckeyes and Cornhuskers were tied 13-13 eight minutes into the game. Ohio State finished the half on a 25-8 run and continued to stretch its lead in the second half.
"I think the guys trust each other," Hoiberg said. "I saw a ton of energy on our bench early in the game, I saw a ton of energy from our players early in the game.
"I thought we missed some really good shots in those first 10 minutes that kind of set the tone for the game. As it wore on, it affected us at the other end, and then they kind of overwhelmed us with their physicality."
The Cornhuskers have three players averaging double figures, led by Teddy Allen (17.7 points per game), but they are shooting 30.4 percent beyond the arc this season.
"I'm sure Nebraska feels like us," Izzo said. "They're desperate for a win."
--Field Level Media