Come Monday, No. 24 Michigan State will drop from the rankings.
The shorthanded Spartans are 4-3 on the season, and went 2-1 this past week at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Michigan State is a young team with a frontline hampered with injuries.
Ben Carter, the graduate transfer from UNLV, was ruled out indefinitely with a knee injury back in October. Gavin Schilling, the returning starter, suffered a non-contact injury in the same month, requiring knee surgery for the 6-foot-9 big man.
The original hope was to have him back by the start of Big Ten Conference play. According to Brendan F. Quinn of MLive.com, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said a final decision will be made on Schilling’s status in the next couple of weeks. There is a chance he could be sidelined for the season, according to Quinn.
“(Team doctors) are not going to take any chances,” Izzo told MLive. “I think they’re going to probably make a decision in a couple of weeks.”
Schilling averaged 3.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game as a junior. He was expected to return to the starting lineup — he made 33 starts as a sophomore — after Deyonta Davis declared for the 2016 NBA Draft following his freshman season.
Due to a thin frontline, anchored by talented freshman Miles Bridges, the Spartans have failed to outrebound their opponent in more than half of their games this season.
Michigan State travels to No. 6 Duke on Tuesday for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Blue Devils are also without key pieces in the frontcourt, as Mike Krzyzewski has once again ruled out Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden.