Big Ten Hoops Preview: Michigan State Spartans

December 28, 2011

B1G Hoops, MSU Hoops

What kind of season will it be for Tom Izzo and the Spartans?

Season so far: 11-2, including 11 straight wins after dropping the first two to then-No. 1 North Carolina (on a big boat) and then-No. 6 Duke.

Good wins: A seven-point win on the road over No. 22 Gonzaga (I wrote it that way so I didn’t have to look up where Gonzaga is).

Bad losses: Neither loss is bad. The Tar Heels are very good. Duke is very good. The Spartans lost by 12 and five on neutral courts. Sounds about right for this team.

Leaders: Scoring: Draymond Green 15.5, Keith Appling 11.2; Rebounds: Green 9.8, Adreian Payne 4.8; Assists: Green 3.5, Appling 3.4.

Best case scenario: If the Spartans win every game they should on paper (superficially speaking – based on ranking, home/away, etc), they go 13-5 and finish second or third in the conference, setting themselves up for a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament. That, of course, means basically everything has to go right for a team that has at times struggled against the likes of Lehigh and Central Connecticut State. Which leads us to …

Worst case scenario: The Spartans could lose their games to ranked teams (Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan) while giving away road games to lesser teams that are nevertheless tough outs at home (Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota). Particularly rough: They close the season at Indiana and then home to Ohio State. Ouch. That could put them at 7-11 or 8-10. Still good enough for the tournament, but in the No. 8, 9 or 10 seed range.

Prediction: We’ll go with the word of @SpartyBasketbal, who says “10-8 would be successful season. Above that would be an amazing season” and “Spartans could finish anywhere from 8th to 3rd” – which could be said for two or three other teams, as well.

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About Tony

Founder of Ball Eight.

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