Has a bit of the magic been unearthed in East Lansing? Don’t look now, but the Michigan State Spartans look a tad more poised and fluid on both offense and defense, marching through the first two rounds of the Big Ten Tournament. Their recent morph into what we all thought they were coming into the season forced the Detroit Free Press’ Michael Rosenberg to administer a self-imposed drug test. He thought he was hallucinating on press row during yesterday’s game against Purdue. Thankfully, he’s feeling better.
Fresh off a mild ankle sprain, Kalin Lucas responded by dropping 30 yesterday, and I think something could be brewing here. As a No. 7 seed, their positioned to square off against Ohio State in the finals, and a well-oiled Spartan club may be talented enough to knock off what’s supposed to be the best team in the country.
Who else remains: Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State,
What’s at stake: Michigan and Penn State are probably in, due in large part to a soft bubble, but obviously it can’t hurt to get another W today and then, in turn, a better night’s rest this evening. The Wolverines don’t jump out at you, but their ability to limit turnovers always keeps them in games, and it’s a primary reason they’re still part of the conversation. Thankfully I didn’t subject myself to that 36-33 root canal between the Nittany Lions and Wisconsin Badgers, let’s just pretend it didn’t happen
But I really think the focus here is Michigan State’s perception in the court of public opinion. After a tumultuous regular season both on and off the court, what will we think of them if they’re able to prevail this weekend? Where does the committee seed them? And if they are given a seed lower than nine, how peeved does that so called “favorite” become when the brackets are announced? I still think the Spartans, one of the most esteemed programs in the country, could be a major spoiler in this season’s NCAA Tournament.
For Ohio State – their job is to stay the course and remain in position to receive the No. 1 overall seed. It’s still theirs to lose, contingent on what Kansas does down in Kansas City, and if they slip up in Indy.