This is not your older brother’s Michigan State basketball team. It’s not even your upperclassman’s Michigan State basketball team. The Spartans are almost never traditionally a bubble team, so this season does feel a bit bizarre.
This past Saturday brought us the first early bracket reveal (of the top 16 seeds anyway) in history and the B1G was a major talking point. That’s because no one in the league had a top four seed in any region. That’s where we stand right now and if that holds until Selection Sunday, it would be the first time it has happened since 2003.
Saturday gives Sparty a good chance to pick up another signature win, which are now harder to come by in a weaker-than-usual league.
Forget all the alternative facts incessantly espoused on BTN (one of the announcers for the Penn State-Illinois game was claiming this past Saturday that the Illini, in 13th place out of 14, were still fighting for an at-large NCAA Tournament berth…it’s seriously gross negligence to intentionally dumb down your audience like that).
The B1G is down this year and the bracket reveal verified this truth.
BTN talking heads will espouse nonsense like “parity” and “everyone beats up on each other,” words and phrases that conflate and confuse. We love sports when we have clear cut winners and losers, definable numbers and metrics, but TV networks owned and operated by leagues and teams threaten that the existence of objective truth in this realm.
Media outlets like these produce propaganda, not journalism. They are to sports what Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway are to news.
The plain truth is, every B1G team has work to do, and they have a handful of games left over this last month to do it. The bracket reveal sent a message not just to the top of the B1G, but to the bubble teams as well. The committee told them that league wins are not as valuable as in years past.
Here’s where Michigan State basketball stands as of now-
#40 in RPI, #54 in Pomeroy and #43 in Sagarin, with a few solid wins. Their best victories include Northwestern (RPI 35) Minnesota (RPI 26) twice and Wichita State (45). Their resume is further augmented by strength of schedule, which currently ranks 19th in the nation. The losses to Baylor (RPI 1), Arizona (RPI 6), Kentucky (RPI 10) and Duke (RPI 15) gives the Michigan St. a real advantage in the “well who have you played” argument over pretty much every other bubble team out there.
We currently have MSU a #9 seed in our latest bracket projection.
They do have a few eye sore losses though- at Indiana (RPI 91, this is a major reason why the league is so down, it’s very rare to see both Indiana and Michigan State basketball struggling at the same time like this), Penn State (RPI 77). Northeastern (RPI 151).
The Spartans lost at home to Purdue on January 24th, so they’ll need to steal one on Saturday. If they don’t, then other opportunities arise when they host Wisconsin on February 26th (RPI 24) and visit Maryland March 5th (RPI 22). Sparty needs to take at least one of those three, if not two in order to rest easy on Selection Sunday. Remember there will be bid stealers from the bubble teams during conference championship week.
If Tom Izzo’s side doesn’t take any of that troika of games, then this Michigan State basketball team will find themselves having to do work in the B1G Tournament.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times and Bold, contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication, CGTN America, WGN CLTV News and KOZN.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks