U-G-L-Y, State ain't got no alibi
Now that Michigan State's dismal 62-38 loss to Purdue has sunk in, it's clear the Spartans are in trouble. They have a week off after four straight losses and enter a four-game homestand with absolutely no room for error.
If MSU is to make the NCAA tournament, the Spartans must win their next four games. That includes a home date with fourth-ranked Wisconsin Feb. 20. An upset of the Badgers is one of the few things MSU could do to offset that ugly performance Wednesday. A 24-point loss to a mediocre team, no matter where it's played, does not look good in the selection committee's eyes, and you better believe they were watching.
Last year, the committee said it watched as much basketball as possible and used its own eyes to help determine which teams deserved inclusion in the field of 65. That produced arguably the most compelling tournament ever with George Mason reaching the Final Four, and remains a selection committee staple going forward.
Wednesday's performance was easily MSU's worst of the year and once again highlighted the Spartans' myriad of offensive deficiencies. Unfortunately, those don't just disappear at home (as evidence by a brutal first half against Illinois earlier this year and tough final five minutes last week against Ohio State).
If MSU can't run the table at the Breslin Center (or win at Wisconsin in the season finale), the Spartans will need a road upset of Michigan and at least one, probably two, Big Ten tournament victories to go dancing for the 10th straight year.