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MSU still has a shot at a No. 1 seed, if it regroups and beats Michigan again

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.

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13 Responses to MSU still has a shot at a No. 1 seed, if it regroups and beats Michigan again

  1. avatar LancelotSpartan says:

    Appling picked the wrong time to go into a slump… Hopefully he comes out of it very soon.

  2. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Graham is there a possibility that Izzo may prefer not playing three games in the btt and entering the dance as a hungry #2 seed for the following reasons.

    1. With Kearney gone whenever a guard is out due to injury it forces excessive minutes ie 38 on Appling which wears him down in multiple games

    2 If they won out and got the 1 seed like last year , without Draymond Green does this team have the emotional maturity not to read the press clippings. I think it is far more likely this group of kids lays an egg as a 1 seed than as an edgy 2 seed with a chip on its shoulder.

    • avatar LancelotSpartan says:

      I think they would be better off to get a 2 seed. Expending all of that energy to win the BTT and get a 1 seed just doesn’t seem worth it. They won it last year and it didn’t really help their cause. I will be happy if they are a 2 or 3 seed and get placed in Auburn Hills.

    • avatar Graham Couch says:

      I think Izzo would prefer a No. 1 seed, as anyone would. But there isn’t much difference in terms of a team’s NCAA tournament path between a No. 1 and 2, especially this year when there is a No. 1 seed to fear anywhere else. I’ll be curious to see MSU in Chicago, because I don’t know if three games in three days is best for this team heading into the NCAA tournament.

      • avatar A very anti Couch poster says:

        Come on man, don’t act like you have the 1st clue about what Coach would like or not like, that’s just ludicrous. Just state the obvious, you’d like the Spartans to have a 1 seed, so you can tell your Mom all about how you used to be the beat writer for a 1 seed.

        IU lost, any impact? So far behind the power curve, round-down strike imminent, wave off, wave off.

  3. avatar MikeAPP says:

    Appling is who he is. Mediocre. Sometimes he shows up, sometimes he doesn’t. I find it interesting that he “doesn’t believe in pressure”, but has wilted under it more times than not this year. Izzo talks about pressure all the time in his discussions. I think it’s about time these kids listen to their coach about Twitter, pressure, etc. He knows what it takes and he’s an invaulable resource and leader who has been there. I don’t see him putting together back to back tourney games, let alone four in a row to make this MSU team another Final 4 type. MSU goes as Appling goes. Period.

    • avatar Graham Couch says:

      Very much disagree with you on Appling, Mike. MSU doesn’t beat Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin or Ohio State the first time, and is nowhere near the top of the Big Ten without Appling’s clutch play. He looks worn down. Maybe he’s injured. But wilting under pressure isn’t his issue. He’s struggled the last couple games, no question. But don’t forget the rest of his season too quickly.

      • avatar CPARTAN says:

        I agree with you, Graham, without Appling’s clutch play at the end of games, we would have lost at least a couple of those games earlier in the season.

      • avatar MSU Owns Beilien says:

        Have to agree, Appling has won numerous games for MSU, and I think the pounding he has been taking for having to play so many minutes caught up to him. Hopefully with a week off, he will rest up. Let Burke get his points like in the first game, and shut everyone else down !

  4. Pingback: Big Ten links: On Hoosiers, hoops race & football updates « Big Ten Network

  5. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Tubby down by four at the half

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