The Big Ten basketball season officially started on December 27th, 2016. Here we are on January 9th and now there are no undefeated teams left in the 14 team conference.
What does this mean? In the words of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, “R-E-L-A-X”. I know what you’re thinking, the Spartans just took what Joe Lunardi will mark as a “bad loss” on the Spartan tournament resume.
But, after four games MSU shares a lead of the Big Ten conference with Purdue, Minnesota and Nebraska even with that loss at the Palestra.
It is WAY too early in the season to be freaking out about what Tom Izzo is doing with this team. We’ve seen it time and time again how as the conference schedule makes its progress towards March, Izzo morphs his teams into fantastic competitors.
There is a plethora of young talent on this team, Spartan fans should trust the process and let coach Izzo do what he does best.
Even though Miles Bridges has combined for ten points the past two games and shot only 25 percent from the field against Penn State on Saturday, this should not be grounds for concern. He will figure out his role in the MSU offense that was able to find ways to win without him by having other players step up.
Michigan State’s next five games are Minnesota, at Ohio State, at Indiana, Purdue and Michigan. A pretty daunting five game
stretch lies ahead for them. But, after all no stretch of the Big Ten schedule could ever be labelled as easy.
This brings us to the main point of the article: The Big Ten is wide open for the Spartan’s taking. Yes, there are a great amount of teams who will be clawing for the regular season title and for great positioning in the NCAA tournament. But, MSU has a tremendous amount of upside that we’ve seen flashes of.
It is now time for MSU to turn on the switch and start gelling as a team night in and night out and start winning these marquee games against some of the Big Ten’s toughest competition. Although Indiana and Ohio State have not recorded a Big Ten victory yet this season, MSU will need to bring their best to these two tough road games.
The Spartans undoubtedly miss Gavin Schilling right about now as they are just 12 days away from matching up against the 7’2, 290 pound Isaac Haas and former Michigan State de-commit Caleb Swanigan. This creates a nightmare for Izzo as his tallest active player currently stands at six foot eight.
When in doubt about this MSU team, trust Izzo’s ability to take this team to mold this team into something greater than it currently is. It is only January 9th, there are still 14 conference games and the loss at the Palestra will not be forgotten.
An abundance of talent that has not 100 percent come together yet, it’s up to this team to show why it is year after year one of the best basketball schools in the nation.