Michigan State Basketball: Tournament Resume Update After Purdue Upset

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You know how it is with Michigan State basketball- the season really doesn’t begin until March. Reaching the NCAA Tournament is basically automatic for this program, so success or failure is judged by what they do in the The Big Dance.

That said, today’s 73-63 loss at Purdue was certainly disheartening for several reasons. This team really needs wing Joshua Langford, and the dimensions that he gives them, back very badly. Langford missed eighth straight game today due to an ankle injury, the specifics of which the school has kept quiet. Michigan State basketball certainly has a #2 seed profile right now, and with a little work, could be on that top line come Selection Sunday.

They will rebound from today’s big setback in West Lafayette, but they really need Langford back to be all that they can be this term. We had an exclusive conversation with the former McDonald’s All-American at Big Ten Media Day, and we talked big picture outlook for the season.

“We want last year to be a motivation for us,” he said of last year’s very disappointing ending, which saw MSU crash out of the tournament on the first weekend for the third straight year.

“(we want to) use last year as to be aware of where did we fall short at? What do we have to get better on?”

Last season was just the fourth time in school history that they won 30 games, and the 16 Big Ten wins was a Michigan State basketball record. They won the conference regular season title and earned a #3 seed in the tournament, but couldn’t defend a de facto home court in Detroit for the first two rounds, and found themselves ousted by an #11 seed and mediocre Syracuse team in a hideous round two contest. 

joshua-langford

It marked the first time in the Tom Izzo era that Michigan State basketball missed the sweet sixteen three times in a row.

“To some people us losing like that overshadowed the great season that we did have,” said Langford. “Sometines we kind of (got) cut caught up in well we where supposed to win the national championship.”

After three straight early exits, all of which came at the hands of teams that were massive underdogs, the whole “January. February. Izzo” slogan is no longer a thing. Of course, there’s no reason to believe that that slogan can’t also come back someday soon.

Until very recently, every four year Michigan State basketball player under coach Tom Izzo has reached at least one Final Four.

joshua-langford

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer is 48-20 during his 23 seasons at MSU; during which he’s accomplished seven Final Fours, eight conference titles and five conference tournament titles.

What made last season’s early elimination (as well as the two that preceded it) seem so disastrous is that the bar in East Lansing is so high right now. The Big Ten’s banner program/biggest brand is a victim of their own success now. Deep runs are expected with Michigan State basketball, right?

“Yes, it’s definitely expected because this is what we do at Michigan State, we win, and we big,” Langford said.

So let’s take a look at where the Spartans may end up come bracket release Sunday; with the caveat that even if they are a #1, #2 or #3 seed, it is no guarantee they’ll make it to the second weekend.

josh langford

Michigan State Basketball Postseason Profile

Record: 18-3, Conference record: 9-1

Rankings/Metrics:

AP Poll- RV #6 (two first place votes) Coaches #5

Sagarin #3, KenPom #2, NET #3

Stat pack: Purdue, who currently rank #10 in Sagarin, ended MSU’s 13 game win streak and ended the Spartans’ bid for their first ever 10-0 start to Big Ten play. Today’s loss also saw State trail by their largest margin (23) in any game this season, before an epic #fakerally fell short.

MSU, who lead the nation in assists have beaten five opponents who were ranked at the time by more than nine points this season. 

tom izzo

Key Wins: Iowa (#19 in the latest AP poll) twice, and by a combined margin of 37, Maryland (#13 this week) by 14, Nebraska (ranked in both polls at various points this season, the fourth team outside the rankings this week), Purdue (the second team outside the AP poll this week, and beating by such a very lopsided margin at the Breslin Center earlier this month is impressive)

Bad Losses:  None. There is no shame in losing to Kansas. Likewise to falling at Purdue and Louisville.  

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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