In eight days, Michigan State’s basketball team went from surging Big Ten front-runner to something less.
Barring Minnesota upsetting Indiana tonight, the Big Ten title chase is probably over for the Spartans.
However, regardless of what the Hoosiers do from here on out, MSU could still grab a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament — if the Spartans win Sunday at Michigan, beat Wisconsin and Northwestern at home and then don’t check out immediately at the Big Ten tournament.
Two wins over both Michigan and Wisconsin, along with the early season win over Kansas, paired with a 14-4 record in this year’s Big Ten, is a terrific NCAA tournament profile. And one that is stronger than that of Gonzaga, Michigan (if MSU wins Sunday) and maybe Kansas.
At worst, such a finish would garner a No. 2 seed and a certain NCAA tourney start in Auburn Hills.
All of that stated, the Spartans don’t look like a team primed to beat the Wolverines this Sunday, not as MSU played against Indiana and in the second half at Ohio State, and not considering the recent struggles of point guard Keith Appling.
Yet, despite a tough week, as it stands, MSU is in a good spot, with plenty in its control. If it can return to being the team it was two weeks ago.