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Quick Takes: Michigan State needs a quick turnaround

Dave2015Head coach Tom Izzo and his Michigan State Spartans are synonymous with March Madness.  And it’s certainly too early to count MSU out.  But another NCAA bid will take some work and a fairly quick turnaround.  Yes, injuries have been a factor and Miles Bridges is expected back, but the Spartans haven’t exactly exuded tournament confidence through the first month or so the season.  MSU is  2-5 against teams in the RPI Top 150 (as of this writing): winning against Wichita State and Florida Gulf Coast.  The Spartans were competitive against Arizona in early November and for a half at Duke.  They also looked completely overmatched against Kentucky and Baylor.  Then there was last weekend’s home loss to Northeastern.  The good news is this: MSU’s opening Big Ten slate is manageable.  After a tough trip to surprising Minnesota, the Spartans host Northwestern and Rutgers, then go to Penn State, before hosting the aforementioned Golden Gophers.  At 7-5 heading into tonight’s game with Oakland, a sluggish Big Ten start could really put MSU in a tough spot.

Additional Quick Takes  …

  • SMU dominated Stanford.  Sometimes those things happen, but it certainly wasn’t a good look for the Cardinal who could very well end up being a bubble team.
  • Illinois has won five straight, including NC State, VCU, and BYU.  How well those wins hold up remains to be seen.  With a home loss to Winthrop and a blowout to West Virginia also on their resume, the Illini need to take care of business tonight against Missouri to close out their non-conference season.
  • Georgetown has also won five straight after their victory at Syracuse.  Meanwhile, the Orange continue to slide – now 7-4 against the nation’s No. 217 non-conference schedule.
  • Kansas State is an early frontrunner to be a team left home on Selection Sunday because of a weak NC SOS. KSU has played only two Top 150 opponents this season and their NC SOS ranks above 270 (and could end up worse).  Just something to keep in mind.
  • Dayton has avoided bad losses but they’ve also missed on quality wins heading into A-10 play.  The Flyers need to take care of league business in January and February.
  • Ohio State is an enigma.  The Buckeyes looked good while losing a close game at Virginia.  And they were competitive with UCLA this past weekend.  They also have an inexplicable home loss to sub-200 RPI Florida Atlantic.  Right now, the Buckeyes are hanging their hat on a win over Providence.  Add it up, and it currently spells bubble.
  • Miami and Iowa State are also hard to figure.  Both resumes are very blah.  Both have NC SOS numbers well above 200 and thus have poor power numbers to date.  ISU won the head-to-head in rather impressive fashion, for what that’s worth.
  • Wake Forest and LSU have both surprised.  I’m not sure whether either will reach the NCAA’s but they’re in the picture heading into conference play, which is better than expected.

Enjoy your hoops Wednesday evening – see our Schedule page for bracket games.

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